Fabrication of polyimide microfluidic devices by laser ablation based additive manufacturing
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Polyimide microfluidic devices (MFDs) have been attached enormous significance because of its excellent organic-solvent inertness, biocompatibility, and thermal stability. In this paper, a novel fabrication method based on the thought of additive manufacturing, which is adding materials layer by layer from bottom to top, was used to construct a multilayer polyimide MFD. The MFD has sophisticated three-dimensional (3D) microchannels with adjustable cross-sectional geometries and high bonding strength, which leads to good reagent mixing performance, large surface-to-volume ratio, and great durability. Starting from a single polyimide film, ultraviolet (UV) laser was utilized to ablate microchannels on the film. Due to the studies over the influence of UV laser on the channel width, the microchannel edge shape is under control, varying from trapezoid to rectangle. From monolayer to multilayer MFDs, thermal bonding with fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) nanoparticle dispersion as the adhesive was adopted to stack polyimide films tightly with precise alignment. In this way, microchannels can be connected vertically between layers to form 3D structures. Besides, a homogeneous adhesive interlayer and polyimide-FEP mixing regime were formed, which can provide high bonding strength. Results of computational fluid dynamics simulation of 3D microchannel structures and organic synthesis experiment revealed that our device has great reagent mixing efficiency and promising application prospects in diverse research fields, especially organic chemical and biological studies.
This work was supported by the Funding of State Key Lab of Tribology in Tsinghua University (no. SKLT2018B06), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 51975320) and National Key R&D Program of China (no. 2017YFB1103300).