Microneedles & Transdermal Applications

Visualize micro-channel creation and monitor the time course of needle degradation or swelling


VivoSight provides unique imaging and measurements for development programs related to:

  • Effects of microneedle geometry on skin penetration and device degradation.

  • Vaccine and drug delivery profiles.

  • Devices and sensors for personal healthcare monitoring.

  • Therapeutic drug monitoring in interstitial fluid.

VivoSight image with vascular overlay. Microneedle penetrates 800 μm deep [2]

VivoSight Dx capabilities to advance your microneedle and drug delivery research include:

  • In-vivo imaging of microneedles in real time

  • Measure microneedle dimensions, penetration depth, dissolution and swelling

  • Measure inflammatory response via vascular changes

  • Understand morphology of device created skin defects

  • Observe kinetics of pore closure and skin healing

  • Verify reproducibility, consistency of results

VivoSight images of dissolution profile of microneedles over a 3-hour period

Microneedles Are Being Developed For a Variety of Applications [1-4]:

Optimize your required microneedle properties with VivoSight imaging and measurement tools.

Hydrogel-forming microneedle array patch (MAP)
VivoSight image of microneedle array immediately after skin insertion
VivoSight images of ‘super swelling’ microneedle arrays in excised skin. Courtesy of Queen’s University Belfast

Translational research leading to practical applications [1 – 4]:

Drug Delivery

Swelling of microneedles and high dose drug and vaccine delivery through separate drug-containing layer

Fluid Sampling 

Optimized microneedles for extraction of skin interstitial fluid. Opportunity to sample biomarkers and drugs for diagnostics, patient monitoring and wearable sensors

Energy Delivery

Loading of hydrogel-forming Microneedle Array Patches (MAPs) with laser target chromophores (plasmonic gold nanorods) for controlled laser photothermal therapy of nonmelanoma skin cancer

“VivoSight OCT is essential for our microneedle research and for the development of related devices and applications. The ability to visualize polymeric microneedles in-vivo allows for measurement of the exact depth of penetration. Moreover, OCT allows us to monitor swelling and dissolution kinetics of biodegradable needles. It is an indispensable tool to advance and optimize Microneedle Array Patch (MAP) research and product development”.

Ryan F. Donnelly, PhD, School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Laser Assisted Drug Delivery:

Visit “APPLICATIONS –> Clinical –> Transdermal Drug Delivery” for more information [5]


1. R.F. Donnelly et al. Optical coherence tomography is a valuable tool in the study of the effects of microneedle geometry on skin penetration characteristics and in-skin dissolution. Journal of Controlled Release 147 (2010) 333–341

2. S. Sharma, et al., Rapid, low cost prototyping of transdermal devices for personal healthcare monitoring, Sensing and Bio-Sensing Research (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbsr.2016.10.004

3. R.F. Donnelly et al. Evaluation of the clinical impact of repeat application of hydrogel-forming microneedle array patches. Drug Delivery and Translational Research (Feb 2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13346-020-00727-2

4. E. Kim et al., Microneedle array delivered recombinant coronavirus vaccines: Immunogenicity and rapid translational development, EBioMedicine (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102743

5. Banzhaf CA, Wind BS, Mogensen M, Meesters AA, Paasch U, Wolkerstorfer A, Haedersdal M. Spatiotemporal Closure of Fractional Laser-Ablated Channels Imaged by Optical Coherence Tomography and Reflectance Confocal Microscopy, Lasers Surg Med. 2016 Feb;48(2):157-65