Gecko gaskets for self-sealing and high-strength reversible bonding of microfluidics†
We report in this work a novel reversible bonding technique for elastomeric microfluidic devices by integrating gecko-inspired dry adhesives with microfluidic channels which greatly enhances the bonding strength of reversibly sealed channels. The concept is applicable to nearly any elastomer and can be used to bond against any smooth surface which allows for van der Waals interactions. It does not require any solvents or glues or sources for plasma activation or thermal-compressive loading to aid the bonding process and is achievable at zero extra cost. We also demonstrate a quick fabrication technique involving soft master thermo-compressive molding of these microfluidic devices with thermoplastic elastomers. The resultant devices can be used for both pressure driven and non-pressure driven flows. We report the maximum contained pressure of these devices manufactured from two grades of styrene ethylene butylene styrene (SEBS) by conducting a burst pressure test with various substrates.