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This article describes FLASH (Fast Lithographic Activation of Sheets), a rapid method for laboratory prototyping of microfluidic devices in paper. Paper-based microfluidic devices are emerging as a new technology for applications in diagnostics for the developing world, where low cost and simplicity are essential. FLASH is based on photolithography, but requires only a UV lamp and a hotplate; no clean-room or special facilities are required (FLASHpatterning can even be performed in sunlight if a UV lamp and hotplate are unavailable). The method provides channels in paper with dimensions as small as 200 µm in width and 70 µm in height; the height is defined by the thickness of the paper. Photomasks for patterning paper-based microfluidic devices can be printed using an ink-jet printer or photocopier, or drawn by hand using a waterproof black pen. FLASH provides a straightforward method for prototyping paper-based microfluidic devices in regions where the technological support for conventional photolithography is not available.
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