Mini-Origami: ISI Folds Up Tiny Packages for Drug Delivery

May 1, 2008

Researchers at the USC Information Sciences Institute have demonstrated a way to manufacture miniscule containers that might be used to deliver precise micro- or even nano- quantities of drugs.

The Voxel team - consisting of Will, professor of chemistry Bruce Koel (who has since gone to Lehigh University), former post-doctoral researcher Alejandro Bugacov and former grad student (now graduate) Rob Gagler folded a number of different shapes, including four- and five-sided pyramids, pentagonal 'lotus' shapes, and also simple square plates that folded over each other to make flat mini- envelopes.


Will (right) has been pursuing the idea of creating voxels for many years, "way back to my days in HP labs, when I was working in Medical and Chemical applications." The USC team designed the chips using MEMSPRO CAD software; the actual chip fabrication was done in France.

"The experimental work was done on campus," said Will, "since ISI doesn't have a wet lab."

The National Science Foundation supported the research, under an exploratory research grant. The paper is "Voxels: volume-enclosing microstructures," J. Micromech. Microeng. 18 (2008) 055025.

Below: additional images and schematics: