In this article we present a new versatile replication method to produce thin polymeric microfluidic devices with tunable porosity. This method is based on phase separation of a polymer solution on a microstructured mold. Compared to existing microfabrication techniques, such as etching and hot embossing, our technique offers four advantages: (a) simple and cheap process that can be performed at room temperature outside clean room facilities; (b) very broad range of applicable materials (including materials that could not be processed before); (c) ability to make thin flexible chips; (d) ability to introduce and tune porosity in the chip. By introducing porosity, the channel walls can be used for selective transport of gasses, liquids and solutes. A proof-of-concept will be given, by showing fast CO2 transport through the channel walls of a porous polymer chip. Furthermore, it will be demonstrated that the gas permeation performance of chips can be enhanced dramatically by a decrease in chip thickness and incorporation of porosity. We expect that the development of porous chips can lead to the on-chip integration of multiple unit operations, such as reaction, separation, gas liquid contacting and membrane emulsification.
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