Fabrication of optofluidic and microfluidic devices

Scope of the method

Alternative method relates to
  • Animal health
  • Environment
  • Human health
Alternative method is situated in
  • Basic Research
  • Translational - Applied Research
Type of alternative method
  • In silico
This method makes use of
  • Animal derived cells / tissues / organs

Description

Method keywords
  • hot embossing
  • micro-injection moulding
  • 3D nanoprinting
  • microscaffolds
Scientific area keywords
  • lab-on-chip
  • microfluidics
  • optofluidics
  • free-form optics
Method description

Prototyping and replication (small series production) of microfluidic or optofluidic devices, in thermoplastic polymers or in glass. 3D nanoprinting is also available to produce microscaffolds, possibly within microfluidic channels.

Lab equipment
  • Ultraprecision diamond tooling,
  • High-precision milling and grinding,
  • High-precision polishing,
  • Hot embossing,
  • (micro-)injection moulding,
  • Glass press moulding,
  • Two-photon polymerization-based 3D nanoprinting,
  • Femtosecond laser glass machining.
Method status
  • Internally validated
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential

Advantages

Custom-designed labs-on-chips can be fabricated (prototyped, or produced in small series), potentially including photonics structures (e.g. waveguides, lenses, ...) to allow for optical read-out integration. In addition, the produced optofluidic devices can be enhanced with 3D nanoprinting to produce custom scaffolds (e.g. for cell growth). In terms of materials, thermoplastic polymers (PMMA, PC, COC) or glass can be used.

Challenges

Sealing of microfluidic channels is sometimes challenging. Depending on the material used, several approaches are possible (laser welding, thermal bonding, chemical bonding,...).

Modifications

Our fabrication technologies are very flexible and allow a large design freedom.

Future & Other applications

The fabrication technologies are also used in other areas, such as high-end free-form optics for imaging or non-imaging applications.

References, associated documents and other information

Associated documents

Contact person

Jürgen Van Erps

Organisations

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Applied Physics and Photonics
Belgium