Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

Microfabrication Related Abstracts

8 Cost Effective Microfabrication Technique for Lab on Chip (LOC) Devices Using Epoxy Polymers

Authors: Charmi Chande, Ravindra Phadke


Microfluidics devices are fabricated by using multiple fabrication methods. Photolithography is one of the common methods wherein SU8 is widely used for making master which in turn is used for making working chip by the process of soft lithography. The high-aspect ratio features of SU-8 makes it suitable to be used as micro moulds for injection moulding, hot embossing, and moulds to form polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) structures for bioMEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) applications. But due to high cost, difficulty in procuring and need for clean room, restricts the use of this polymer especially in developing countries and small research labs. ‘Bisphenol –A’ based polymers in mixture with curing agent are used in various industries like Paints and coatings, Adhesives, Electrical systems and electronics, Industrial tooling and composites. We present the novel use of ‘Bisphenol – A’ based polymer in fabricating micro channels for Lab On Chip(LOC) devices. The present paper describes the prototype for production of microfluidics chips using range of ‘Bisphenol-A’ based polymers viz. GY 250, ATUL B11, DER 331, DER 330 in mixture with cationic photo initiators. All the steps of chip production were carried out using an inexpensive approach that uses low cost chemicals and equipment. This even excludes the need of clean room. The produced chips using all above mentioned polymers were validated with respect to height and the chip giving least height was selected for further experimentation. The lowest height achieved was 7 micrometers by GY250. The cost of the master fabricated was $ 0.20 and working chip was $. 0.22. The best working chip was used for morphological identification and profiling of microorganisms from environmental samples like soil, marine water and salt water pan sites. The current chip can be adapted for various microbiological screening experiments like biochemical based microbial identification, studying uncultivable microorganisms at single cell/community level.

Keywords: Microfabrication, Photolithography, bisphenol–A based epoxy, cationic photoinitiators

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7 Microfabrication of Three-Dimensional SU-8 Structures Using Positive SPR Photoresist as a Sacrificial Layer for Integration of Microfluidic Components on Biosensors

Authors: Jaehoon Chung, Su Yin Chiam, Qing Xin Zhang


Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuits (ICs) have obtained increased attention in the biosensor community because CMOS technology provides cost-effective and high-performance signal processing at a mass-production level. In order to supply biological samples and reagents effectively to the sensing elements, there are increasing demands for seamless integration of microfluidic components on the fabricated CMOS wafers by post-processing. Although the PDMS microfluidic channels replicated from separately prepared silicon mold can be typically aligned and bonded onto the CMOS wafers, it remains challenging owing the inherently limited aligning accuracy ( > ± 10 μm) between the two layers. Here we present a new post-processing method to create three-dimensional microfluidic components using two different polarities of photoresists, an epoxy-based negative SU-8 photoresist and positive SPR220-7 photoresist. The positive photoresist serves as a sacrificial layer and the negative photoresist was utilized as a structural material to generate three-dimensional structures. Because both photoresists are patterned using a standard photolithography technology, the dimensions of the structures can be effectively controlled as well as the alignment accuracy, moreover, is dramatically improved (< ± 2 μm) and appropriately can be adopted as an alternative post-processing method. To validate the proposed processing method, we applied this technique to build cell-trapping structures. The SU8 photoresist was mainly used to generate structures and the SPR photoresist was used as a sacrificial layer to generate sub-channel in the SU8, allowing fluid to pass through. The sub-channel generated by etching the sacrificial layer works as a cell-capturing site. The well-controlled dimensions enabled single-cell capturing on each site and high-accuracy alignment made cells trapped exactly on the sensing units of CMOS biosensors.

Keywords: MEMS, Microfabrication, Microfluidic, SU-8

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6 Visualization of Flow Behaviour in Micro-Cavities during Micro Injection Moulding

Authors: Reza Gheisari, Paulo J. Bartolo, Nicholas Goddard


Polymeric micro-cantilevers (Cs) are rapidly becoming popular for MEMS applications such as chemo- and bio-sensing as well as purely electromechanical applications such as microrelays. Polymer materials present suitable physical and chemical properties combined with low-cost mass production. Hence, micro-cantilevers made of polymers indicate much more biocompatibility and adaptability of rapid prototyping along with mechanical properties. This research studies the effects of three process and one size factors on the filling behaviour in micro cavity, and the role of each in the replication of micro parts using different polymer materials i.e. polypropylene (PP) SABIC 56M10 and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) Magnum 8434. In particular, the following factors are considered: barrel temperature, mould temperature, injection speed and the thickness of micro features. The study revealed that the barrel temperature and the injection speed are the key factors affecting the flow length of micro features replicated in PP and ABS. For both materials, an increase of feature sizes improves the melt flow. However, the melt fill of micro features does not increase linearly with the increase of their thickness.

Keywords: Microfabrication, micro cantilevers, flow length, micro injection moulding

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5 Blood Clot Emulsification via Ultrasonic Thrombolysis Device

Authors: Sun Tao, Lou Liang, Tan Xing Haw Marvin, Gu Yuandong Alex


Patients with blood clots in their brains can experience problems with their vision or speech, seizures and general weakness. To treat blood clots, clinicians presently have two options. The first involves drug therapy to thin the blood and thus reduce the clot. The second choice is to invasively remove the clot using a plastic tube called a catheter. Both approaches carry a high risk of bleeding, and invasive procedures, such as catheter intervention, can also damage the blood vessel wall and cause infection. Ultrasonic treatment as a potential alternative therapy to break down clots is attracting growing interests due to the reduced adverse effects. To demonstrate the concept, in this investigation a microfabricated ultrasonic device was electrically packaged with printed circuit board to treat healthy human blood. The red blood cells could be broken down after 3-hour ultrasonic treatment.

Keywords: Microfabrication, blood clot, ultrasonic thrombolysis device, ultrasonic device

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4 Microfluidic Device for Real-Time Electrical Impedance Measurements of Biological Cells

Authors: Anil Koklu, Amin Mansoorifar, Ali Beskok


Dielectric spectroscopy (DS) is a noninvasive, label free technique for a long term real-time measurements of the impedance spectra of biological cells. DS enables characterization of cellular dielectric properties such as membrane capacitance and cytoplasmic conductivity. We have developed a lab-on-a-chip device that uses an electro-activated microwells array for loading, DS measurements, and unloading of biological cells. We utilized from dielectrophoresis (DEP) to capture target cells inside the wells and release them after DS measurement. DEP is a label-free technique that exploits differences among dielectric properties of the particles. In detail, DEP is the motion of polarizable particles suspended in an ionic solution and subjected to a spatially non-uniform external electric field. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first microfluidic chip that combines DEP and DS to analyze biological cells using electro-activated wells. Device performance is tested using two different cell lines of prostate cancer cells (RV122, PC-3). Impedance measurements were conducted at 0.2 V in the 10 kHz to 40 MHz range with 6 s time resolution. An equivalent circuit model was developed to extract the cell membrane capacitance and cell cytoplasmic conductivity from the impedance spectra. We report the time course of the variations in dielectric properties of PC-3 and RV122 cells suspended in low conductivity medium (LCB), which enhances dielectrophoretic and impedance responses, and their response to sudden pH change from a pH of 7.3 to a pH of 5.8. It is shown that microfluidic chip allowed online measurements of dielectric properties of prostate cancer cells and the assessment of the cellular level variations under external stimuli such as different buffer conductivity and pH. Based on these data, we intend to deploy the current device for single cell measurements by fabricating separately addressable N × N electrode platforms. Such a device will allow time-dependent dielectric response measurements for individual cells with the ability of selectively releasing them using negative-DEP and pressure driven flow.

Keywords: Microfabrication, Microfluidic, Lab on a Chip, AC electrokinetics, dielectric spectroscopy

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3 Normally Closed Thermoplastic Microfluidic Valves with Microstructured Valve Seats: A Strategy to Avoid Permanently Bonded Valves during Channel Sealing

Authors: Kebin Li, Keith Morton, Matthew Shiu, Karine Turcotte, Luke Lukic, Teodor Veres


We present a normally closed thermoplastic microfluidic valve design that uses microstructured valve seats to locally prevent the membrane from bonding to the valve seat during microfluidic channel sealing. The microstructured valve seat reduces the adhesion force between the contact surfaces of the valve seat and the membrane locally, allowing valve open and close operations while simultaneously providing a permanent and robust bond elsewhere to cover and seal the microfluidic channel network. Dynamic valve operation including opening and closing times can be tuned by changing the valve seat diameter as well as the density of the microstructures on the valve seats. The influence of the microstructured valve seat on the general flow behavior through the microfluidic devices was also studied. A design window for the fabrication of valve structure is identified and discussed to minimize the fabrication complexity.

Keywords: Microfluidics, Microfabrication, Thermoplastic Elastomer, injection molding, hot-embossing, microvalves

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2 A Robust Stretchable Bio Micro-Electromechanical Systems Technology for High-Strain in vitro Cellular Studies

Authors: Tiffany Baetens, Sophie Halliez, Luc Buée, Emiliano Pallecchi, Vincent Thomy, Steve Arscott


We demonstrate here a viable stretchable bio-microelectromechanical systems (BioMEMS) technology for use with biological studies concerned with the effect of high mechanical strains on living cells. An example of this is traumatic brain injury (TBI) where neurons are damaged with physical force to the brain during, e.g., accidents and sports. Robust, miniaturized integrated systems are needed by biologists to be able to study the effect of TBI on neuron cells in vitro. The major challenges in this area are (i) to develop micro, and nanofabrication processes which are based on stretchable substrates and to (ii) create systems which are robust and performant at very high mechanical strain values—sometimes as high as 100%. At the time of writing, such processes and systems were rapidly evolving subject of research and development. The BioMEMS which we present here is composed of an elastomer substrate (low Young’s modulus ~1 MPa) onto which is patterned robust electrodes and insulators. The patterning of the thin films is achieved using standard photolithography techniques directly on the elastomer substrate—thus making the process generic and applicable to many materials’ in based systems. The chosen elastomer used is commercial ‘Sylgard 184’ polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). It is spin-coated onto a silicon wafer. Multistep ultra-violet based photolithography involving commercial photoresists are then used to pattern robust thin film metallic electrodes (chromium/gold) and insulating layers (parylene) on the top of the PDMS substrate. The thin film metals are deposited using thermal evaporation and shaped using lift-off techniques The BioMEMS has been characterized mechanically using an in-house strain-applicator tool. The system is composed of 12 electrodes with one reference electrode transversally-orientated to the uniaxial longitudinal straining of the system. The electrical resistance of the electrodes is observed to remain very stable with applied strain—with a resistivity approaching that of evaporated gold—up to an interline strain of ~50%. The mechanical characterization revealed some interesting original properties of such stretchable BioMEMS. For example, a Poisson effect induced electrical ‘self-healing’ of cracking was identified. Biocompatibility of the commercial photoresist has been studied and is conclusive. We will present the results of the BioMEMS, which has also characterized living cells with a commercial Multi Electrode Array (MEA) characterization tool (Multi Channel Systems, USA). The BioMEMS enables the cells to be strained up to 50% and then characterized electrically and optically.

Keywords: Biomems, Thin Films, Microfabrication, traumatic brain injury, elastomer, electrical impedance measurements of living cells, high mechanical strain, stretchable systems

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1 Design Optimization of a Micro Compressor for Micro Gas Turbine Using Computational Fluid Dynamics

Authors: Kamran Siddique, Hiroyuki Asada, Yoshifumi Ogami


The use of Micro Gas Turbine (MGT) as the engine in Unmanned Aerobic Vehicles (UAVs) and power source in Robotics is widespread these days. Research has been conducted in the past decade or so to improve the performance of different components of MGT. This type of engine has interrelated components which have non-linear characteristics. Therefore, the overall engine performance depends on the individual engine element’s performance. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is one of the simulation method tools used to analyze or even optimize MGT system performance. In this study, the compressor of the MGT is designed, and performance optimization is being done using CFD. Performance of the micro compressor is improved in order to increase the overall performance of MGT. A high value of pressure ratio is to be achieved by studying the effect of change of different operating parameters like mass flow rate and revolutions per minute (RPM) and aerodynamical and geometrical parameters on the pressure ratio of the compressor. Two types of compressor designs are considered in this study; 3D centrifugal and ‘planar’ designs. For a 10 mm impeller, the planar model is the simplest compressor model with the ease in manufacturability. On the other hand, 3D centrifugal model, although more efficient, is very difficult to manufacture using current microfabrication resources. Therefore, the planar model is the best-suited model for a micro compressor. So. a planar micro compressor has been designed that has a good pressure ratio, and it is easy to manufacture using current microfabrication technologies. Future work is to fabricate the compressor to get experimental results and validate the theoretical model.

Keywords: Computational Fluid Dynamics, MEMS, Microfabrication, unmanned aerobic vehicles

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