The design and fabrication of a multilayered polymer micro-nanofluidic chip is described that consists of poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) layers that contain microfluidic channels separated in the vertical direction by polycarbonate (PC) membranes that incorporate an array of nanometre diameter cylindrical pores. The materials are optically transparent to allow inspection of the fluids within the channels in the near UV and visible spectrum. The design architecture enables nanofluidic interconnections to be placed in the vertical direction between microfluidic channels. Such an architecture allows microchannel separations within the chip, as well as allowing unique operations that utilize nanocapillary interconnects: the separation of analytes based on molecular size, channel isolation, enhanced mixing, and sample concentration. Device fabrication is made possible by a transfer process of labile membranes and the development of a contact printing method for a thermally curable epoxy based adhesive. This adhesive is shown to have bond strengths that prevent leakage and delamination and channel rupture tests exceed 6 atm (0.6 MPa) under applied pressure. Channels 100 μm in width and 20 μm in depth are contact printed without the adhesive entering the microchannel. The chip is characterized in terms of resistivity measurements along the microfluidic channels, electroosmotic flow (EOF) measurements at different pH values and laser-induced-fluorescence (LIF) detection of green-fluorescent protein (GFP) plugs injected across the nanocapillary membrane and into a microfluidic channel. The results indicate that the mixed polymer micro-nanofluidic multilayer chip has electrical characteristics needed for use in microanalytical systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering