Lock Release Lithography

Technology #13438

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FIG 1. A schematic of the lock release lithography process.   This illustrates the relief chamber where the pre-polymer monomers are collected, the stage in which the monomer is locked and polymerized by UV, and the subsequent release and collection of the high-throughput generated 3D nanoparticles. FIG. 2 DIC and scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of 3D particles.FIG. 3 Synthesis of composite particles.FIG. 4 Functional particles.
Professor Patrick Doyle
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
External Link (doylegroup.mit.edu)
Daniel Pregibon
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Ki Wan Bong
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Managed By
Tod Woolf
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Lock-Release Polymerization

US Patent 9,512,278

Lock-Release Polymerization

US Patent Pending
Lock Release Lithography for 3D and Composite Microparticles
Lab Chip, Vol. 9, 863-866, 2009


3D and composite particles offer advantages as sorting material, smart materials and building blocks for self-assembled structures with complex functionality, which would impact fields in drug delivery, tissue engineering, optics, and electro mechanics.

Problem Addressed

While recent advances in the field of colloid synthesis have produced anisotropic (non-spherical) particles, the ability to rapidly control three dimensional (3D) size and shape and chemistry independently, has not been demonstrated.  There is also limitations of morphology and functionality.


Lock Release Lithography (LRL) allows for a high-throughput production of particles with complex 3D morphologies and composite particles with configurable chemistries. LRL utilizes a combination of topology, mask-design, and pressure-induced channel deformation to form and release particles in a cycled fashion.


  • A simpler means to synthesize patterned particles and also gives control over morphology, functionality, and composition.
  • LRL technology can be used to easily generate various 3D and complex, composite particles with a broad range of potential chemistries, interwoven or excluded, with incorporated entities, such as nucleic acids, proteins, and cells.
  • Provides means to mass-produce functional units for microfluidic operations, filtration systems, and tissue engineering constructs.