Thermally robust and biomolecule-friendly room-temperature bonding for the fabrication of elastomer–plastic hybrid microdevices†
Here, we introduce a simple and fast method for bonding a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) silicone elastomer to different plastics. In this technique, surface modification and subsequent bonding processes are performed at room temperature. Furthermore, only one chemical is needed, and no surface oxidation step is necessary prior to bonding. This bonding method is particularly suitable for encapsulating biomolecules that are sensitive to external stimuli, such as heat or plasma treatment, and for embedding fracturable materials prior to the bonding step. Microchannel-fabricated PDMS was first oxidized by plasma treatment and reacted with aminosilane by forming strong siloxane bonds (Si–O–Si) at room temperature. Without the surface oxidation of the amine-terminated PDMS and plastic, the two heterogeneous substrates were brought into intimate physical contact and left at room temperature. Subsequently, aminolysis occurred, leading to the generation of a permanent seal via the formation of robust urethane bonds after only 5 min of assembling. Using this method, large-area (10 × 10 cm) bonding was successfully realized. The surface was characterized by contact angle measurements and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analyses, and the bonding strength was analyzed by performing peel, delamination, leak, and burst tests. The bond strength of the PDMS–polycarbonate (PC) assembly was approximately 409 ± 6.6 kPa, and the assembly withstood the injection of a tremendous amount of liquid with the per-minute injection volume exceeding 2000 times its total internal volume. The thermal stability of the bonded microdevice was confirmed by performing a chamber-type multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of two major foodborne pathogens – Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella typhimurium – and assessing the possibility for on-site direct detection of PCR amplicons. This bonding method demonstrated high potential for the stable construction of closed microfluidic systems socketed with biomolecule-immobilized surfaces such as DNA, antibody, enzyme, peptide, and protein microarrays.