Geometrical strengthening and tip-sharpening of a microneedle array fabricated by X-ray lithography
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A novel fabrication method for LIGA (from the German “Lithographie”, “Galvanik”, and “Abformung”) microneedles with through holes is presented. Such microneedles are in demand by most bio-medical MEMS applications and in some fluidic MEMS applications. We propose a technique that combines conventional deep X-ray lithography, plane-pattern to cross-section transfer (PCT) process, and alignment X-ray lithography. The technique provides precise hole alignment with ± 3 μm tolerance. Finite-element simulations on various hole locations were performed to determine the optimum position. We previously fabricated a microneedle with a 100-μm base and a 300-μm height by a right-triangular mask. The resultant microneedle had a very sharp tip but was excessively steep, and thus resulted in a very low strength. Improved strength and tip sharpness was consequently achieved by changing the mask-pattern from a triangular pattern to a polygonal mask and changing the dimensions of the microneedle to have a 300-μm base with various heights between 350 and 800 μm. Using the proposed technique, we could produce a total of 100 hollow microneedles on a 5 × 5 mm2 chip. Moreover, we successfully fabricated sharpened microneedles that were stronger than that we have fabricated so far. The molding process or electroplating and the cost list of the LIGA microneedle will also be included.
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