Many microfluidic applications require modified surface wettability of the microchannels. Patterning of wettability within enclosed microfluidic structures at high spatial resolution has been challenging in the past. In this paper, we report an improved method for altering the surface wettability in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microchannels by UV-induced graft polymerization of poly(acrylic acid). Our method presents significant improvements in terms of wettability contrast and spatial resolution of the patterned structures as compared to recent literature and is in particular applicable to complex microfluidic structures with a broad range of channel sizes and aspect ratios. A key part of our work is the clear description of the surface treatment process with the identification of key parameters, some of which have been overlooked, neglected, or misinterpreted in previous works. We have studied these key parameters in detail and provide recommended values for each parameter supported by experimental results. This detailed understanding of the treatment process and the effects of the critical parameters on it allowed us to significantly improve quality and reliability of the treatment process.
Schneider, M.H., H. Willaime,Y. Tran, F. Rezgui,P. Tabeling