A toner-mediated lithographic technology for rapid prototyping of glass microchannels†
A simple, fast, and inexpensive masking technology without any photolithographic step to produce glass microchannels is proposed in this work. This innovative process is based on the use of toner layers as mask for wet chemical etching. The layouts were projected in graphic software and printed on wax paper using a laser printer. The toner layer was thermally transferred from the paper to cleaned glass surfaces (microscope slides) at 130 °C for 2 min. After thermal transference, the glass channel was etched using 25% (v/v) hydrofluoric acid (HF) solution. The toner mask was then removed by cotton soaked in acetonitrile. The etching rate was approximately 7.1 ± 0.6 µm min−1. This process is economically more attractive than conventional methods because it does not require any sophisticated instrumentation and it can be implemented in any chemical/biochemical laboratory. The glass channel was thermally bonded against a flat glass cover and its analytical feasibility was investigated using capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection (C4D) and laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) detection.