Programmable LDEP technology to fabricate versatile master molds for PDMS continuous-flow microfluidic applications

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This paper presents an innovative versatile method aiming at rapid fabrication of a master for polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) molding. This technology is relying on liquid dielectrophoresis electromechanical microfluidic transduction for programmable ultraviolet (UV) glue manipulation. It enables formation of the master in a tailor-made approach, avoiding the need of micromachined structures unlike in conventional methods. The principle is simple: UV glue, while in liquid phase, is actuated onto an array of electrodes patterned on a Si substrate and cured afterward by UV exposure. The silicon chip and the glue microstructures defined atop of it then play the role of a master for PDMS molding. The glue microstructures’ shape is hemispherical which is of high interest for many microfluidic applications. This concept is assessed and validated with two different PDMS chip replica designs, both of them illustrating representative applications in continuous microfluidic: a T-junction design for inflow droplet generation and a “Quake” type valve. Lastly, this protocol has shown to be recyclable since the UV glue microstructures once formed can be easily removed by immersion in an acetone bath, such as the chip is reset and can be reprogrammed afterward to build another glue channels geometry.

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The authors want to thank M. Cochet, G. Castellan, and A. Bellemin Comte from CEA-Leti for, respectively, their valuable help on silicon devices fabrication, the SiOC deposition and the profilometer measurements.

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Correspondence to Raphael Renaudot or Vincent Agache.

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Renaudot, R., Fouillet, Y., Jalabert, L. et al. Programmable LDEP technology to fabricate versatile master molds for PDMS continuous-flow microfluidic applications. Microfluid Nanofluid 16, 701–710 (2014) doi:10.1007/s10404-013-1256-z

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  • Liquid dielectrophoresis
  • UV glue
  • PDMS replica