skip to: onlinetools | mainnavigation | content | footer

Research in Microfluidics 

MicroChemLab
MicroChemLab™ biodetector

Contact

Related Links

Research in Microfluidic Transport at
Sandia National Laboratories

Polymer Microfluidic Replication

Polymer Microfluidics

A major program at the Sandia, CA site is the development of polymeric microfluidic systems for several diverse application. We have the capabilities of producing large quantities of polymer "chips" in a very rapid fashion through the utilization of an injection molding machine and hot embossing.

Typical processing steps include wet etching a glass master, electroplating Ni into those feature to produce a tool, and then replicating polymeric devices off of that tool.

A typical set-up we use for a tooling insert is shown below.

tooling ring
Typical Tooling Used in the Replication Process

Nissei injection molding machinePolymeric replication technologies are critical to the cost-effective fabrication of microlfuidic devices and are a major focus within the Sandia-CA materials community centered in 8722.

Equally critical is the ability to treat, bond, and test the operational capabilities of these microfluidic devices, all of which are done in-house. The injection molding process utilizes a 60-ton vertical Nissei injection molding machine (right) with custom designed mold bases to hold interchangeable tooled inserts. The hot embossing process utilizes a Carver Press test frame equipped with custom fixturing which hold the same tooling used in the injection molding process plus the plastic substrates.

In order to expand the functionality of these devices, we are currently developing methods by which we integrate fluidic interconnects, optics, micrometrology, and electrical features intimately with these devices. These advances will play a critical role in producing polymeric microfluidic devices that are suitable for multiple applications and operating environments.

Both channel filled bottoms and blank tops have been produced from amorphous polyolefins and other resins and bonding processes developed to fabricate functional microfluidic polymeric substrates.

Typical microfluidic features replicated into a polyermic substrate are shown below .

intersection magnified 50x replication
Polymeric Replicates Containing Microfluidic Features

In order to expand the functionality of these devices, we are currently developing methods by which we integrate fluidic interconnects, optics, micrometrology, and electrical features intimately with these devices. These advances will play a critical role in producing polymeric microfluidic devices that are suitable for multiple applications and operating environments.