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Issue 8, 2011
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Fabrication of circular microfluidic channels by combining mechanical micromilling and soft lithography

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Abstract

The fabrication of microfluidic channels with complex three-dimensional (3D) geometries presents a major challenge to the field of microfluidics, because conventional lithography methods are mainly limited to rectangular cross-sections. In this paper, we demonstrate the use of mechanical micromachining to fabricate microfluidic channels with complex cross-sectional geometries. Micro-scale milling tools are first used to fabricate semi-circular patterns on planar metallic surfaces to create a master mold. The micromilled pattern is then transferred to polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) through a two-step reverse molding process. Using these semi-circular PDMS channels, circular cross-sectioned microchannels are created by aligning and adhering two channels face-to-face. Straight and serpentine-shaped microchannels were fabricated, and the channel geometry and precision of the metallic master and PDMS molds were assessed through scanning electron microscopy and non-contact profilometry. Channel functionality was tested by perfusion of liquid through the channels. This work demonstrates that micromachining enabled soft lithography is capable of fabricating non-rectangular cross-section channels for microfluidic applications. We believe that this approach will be important for many fields from biomimetics and vascular engineering to microfabrication and microreactor technologies.

Graphical abstract: Fabrication of circular microfluidic channels by combining mechanical micromilling and soft lithography

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Publication details

The article was received on 04 Nov 2010, accepted on 16 Feb 2011 and first published on 14 Mar 2011


Article type: Technical Note
DOI: 10.1039/C0LC00561D
Citation: Lab Chip, 2011,11, 1550-1555
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    Fabrication of circular microfluidic channels by combining mechanical micromilling and soft lithography

    M. E. Wilson, N. Kota, Y. Kim, Y. Wang, D. B. Stolz, P. R. LeDuc and O. B. Ozdoganlar, Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 1550
    DOI: 10.1039/C0LC00561D

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