Microfluidic Device Fabrication
Microfluidic technology is a rapidly advancing tool enabling researchers to exert an unprecedented level of control over microscale environments. Microfluidics are being employed in numerous fields including biology, materials science, medicine, chemistry and physical sciences. Working within channels smaller than ten micrometers (microchannels), researchers can manipulate individual components of their system of interest with high resolution. There are many other key advantages to working with small size and volume, including portability, low cost, rapid prototyping, easier automation, and the ability to work with limited sample sizes and reagents. As a result, microfluidic device research has spread prodigiously over the last 20 years, leading to a multitude of microfluidic device applications.
Harrick Plasma cleaners are used extensively for the fabrication of microfluidic devices and to provide beneficial surface functionalities in microchannels. Plasma is a partially ionized gas consisting of electrons, ions and neutral atoms or molecules used frequently to remove organic contamination and modify material surface properties. In fabricating microfluidic devices made from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and glass, an air or oxygen plasma introduces oxygen-containing functional groups, ultimately creating a device surface with silanol groups (SiOH). When placed in contact, the silanol groups react to form siloxane bridges (Si-O-Si) that provide a water-tight seal. Rigid thermoplastic devices can also be bonded in this way with the addition of an intermediate coating such as (3-Aminopropyl) triethoxysilane (APTES). In addition to bonding, plasma treatment increases hydrophilicity and improves aqueous fluid flow in microchannels.
In the following notes, you will find brief overviews of microfluidic device applications and references to further help in microfluidic device research. For even more resources, please feel free to visit our Technical Library where you can find over 2,000 Technical Articles related to microfluidic device fabrication and development.
Microfluidics in the Life Sciences
Plasma cleaning introduces polar, biologically beneficial functional groups (Carboxyl, Carbonyl, Hydroxyl and Amine) to microchannel surfaces that are essential in several biomedical applications. To download A Brief Guide to Microfluidic Device Applications in the Life Sciences, click the button below.