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Thermoplastic elastomer with advanced hydrophilization and bonding performances for rapid (30s) and easy molding of microfluidic devices

Abstract

One of the most important area of research in microfluidic technologies focuses on the identification and characterisation of novel materials with enhanced properties and versatility. Here we present a fast, easy and inexpensive microstructuration method for the fabrication of novel, flexible, transparent and biocompatible microfluidic devices. Using a simple hot-press, we demonstrate the rapid (30s) production of various microfluidic prototypes embossed in a commercially-available soft thermoplastic elastomer (sTPE). This styrenic block copolymer (BCP) material is as flexible as PDMS and as thermoformable as classical thermoplastics. It exhibits high fidelity in replication using SU–8 and epoxy master molds in a highly convenient low-isobar (0.4 bar) and iso-thermal process. Microfluidic devices can then be easily sealed using either a simple hot plate or even room-temperature assembly, allowing them so sustain liquid pressure of 2 and 0.6 bars respectively. The excellent sorption and biocompatibility properties of the microchips were validated via a standard rhodamine dye assay as well as a sensitive yeast cell-based assay. The morphology and composition of the surface area after plasma treatment for hydrophilization purposes are stable and show constant and homogenous distribution of the block nanodomains ( 22° after 4 days). These domains, which are evenly distributed at the nanoscale, therefore account for a uniform and convenient surface at a “microfluidic scale device”. To our knowledge, this is the first thermoplastic elastomer material that can be used for fast and reliable fabrication and assembly of microdevices while maintaining a high and stable hydrophilicity.

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 May 2017, accepted on 16 Jun 2017 and first published on 16 Jun 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7LC00488E
Citation: Lab Chip, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Thermoplastic elastomer with advanced hydrophilization and bonding performances for rapid (30s) and easy molding of microfluidic devices

    J. Lachaux, C. Alcaine, B. Gomez-Escoda, C. M. Perrault, D. Olea Duplan, P. J. Wu, I. Ochoa, L. Fernández, O. Mercier, D. Coudreuse and E. Roy, Lab Chip, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7LC00488E

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