Abstract

In this paper we demonstrate, using a fabrication technique, liquid-phase photopolymerization (LP 3 ) for the relatively fast and low-cost integration of thick polymers and electroformed metal microstructures to develop a range of microfluidic components and systems. Liquid-phase UV-photosensitive polymers, similar to negative-tone photoresists, are used to create both polymer microstructures and molds to define electroformed metal (here, nickelóNi) microstructures. This fabrication process can act as a stand-alone or appended one; it is gentle to allow processing after a metal structure has been released since fabrication occurs only at designated areas on a substrate, i.e. no spinning/casting of photosensitive materials, and self-planarization is achieved since photopolymerization of polymers occurs in the liquid phase. Photopatterned polymer and electroformed Ni microstructures are fabricated using LP 3 with a low-end (low-cost) lithographic system. A variety of functional microfluidic components and systems, e.g., an active and a passive chaotic micromixer, and gear trains, are fabricated by utilizing a sequential step-and-repeat LP 3 process to demonstrate the integration of polymers and metals.

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