Solvent immersion imprint lithography†
We present Solvent Immersion Imprint Lithography (SIIL), a technique for polymer functionalization and microsystem prototyping. SIIL is based on polymer immersion in commonly available solvents. This was experimentally and computationally analyzed, uniquely enabling two practical aspects. The first is imprinting and bonding deep features that span the 1 to 100 μm range, which are unattainable with existing solvent-based methods. The second is a functionalization scheme characterized by a well-controlled, 3D distribution of chemical moieties. SIIL is validated by developing microfluidics with embedded 3D oxygen sensors and microbioreactors for quantitative metabolic studies of a thermophile anaerobe microbial culture. Polystyrene (PS) was employed in the aforementioned applications; however all soluble polymers – including inorganic ones – can be employed with SIIL under no instrumentation requirements and typical processing times of less than two minutes.