Thermoset polyester droplet-based microfluidic devices for high frequency generation†
The vast majority of droplet-based microfluidic devices are made from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Unfortunately PDMS is not suitable for high frequency droplet generation at high operating pressure due to its low shear modulus. In this paper, we report the fabrication and testing of microfluidic devices using thermoset polyester (TPE). The optical characteristics of the fabricated devices were assessed and substrate resistance to pressure also investigated. TPE devices bonded using an O2 plasma treated PET substrate at 76 °C were shown to function efficiently at pressures up to 18 MPa. TPE material retains many of the attractive features of PDMS such as ease of fabrication but significantly, has superior mechanical properties. The improved resistance of TPE to high pressures enabled investigation of high frequency droplet generation as a function of a wide range of flow-rates with three different oils as continuous phase.