We present a rapid and non-photolithographic approach to microfluidic pattern generation by leveraging the inherent shrinkage properties of biaxially oriented polystyrene thermoplastic sheets. This novel approach yields channels deep enough for mammalian cell assays, with demonstrated heights up to 80 µm. Moreover, we can consistently and easily achieve rounded channels, multi-height channels, and channels as thin as 65 µm in width. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of this simple microfabrication approach by fabricating a functional gradient generator. The whole process—from device design conception to working device—can be completed within minutes.
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