Low-cost rapid prototyping of glass microfluidic devices using a micromilling technique

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A method is proposed for rapid prototyping of glass microfluidic devices utilizing a commercial micromilling machine. In the proposed approach, micromilling is performed with the glass substrates immersed in cool water, which could efficiently remove debris and increase the life of milling tools. We also investigate the effects of spindle speed, feed rate, cutting depth, cooling mode, and tool type on finished channel geometries, bottom surface roughness, and burring along the channel sides. It was found that low cutting depths, high spindle speeds and low feed rate produce smoother channels. Several functional microfluidic devices were demonstrated with this rapid prototyping method. The results confirm that the proposed micromilling technique represents a viable solution for the rapid and economic fabrication of glass-based microfluidic chips. We believe that this method will greatly improve the accessibility of glass microfluidic devices to researchers.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 61771078 and 61271161), the Chongqing Research Program of Basic Research and Frontier Technology (no. cstc2017jcyjB0182) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (no. 106112016CDJXZ238826).

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Correspondence to Gang Li.

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Ku, X., Zhang, Z., Liu, X. et al. Low-cost rapid prototyping of glass microfluidic devices using a micromilling technique. Microfluid Nanofluid 22, 82 (2018).

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  • Microfabrication
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Micromilling
  • Glass microfluidic device