Sacrificial layer microfluidic device fabrication methods



Over the past 15 years, research in the field of microfluidics has experienced rapid growth due to significant potential advantages such as low cost, short analysis times, and elimination of sources of contamination. Although etched and thermally bonded glass substrates have seen widespread use and offer solid performance, device fabrication still remains cumbersome. Recent advances in sacrificial layer microfabrication methods for microfluidics have overcome many disadvantages of conventional fabrication approaches. Phase-changing sacrificial layers have been implemented in making inexpensive and high-performance polymer microchips for electrophoretic analysis, protein focusing, and sample preconcentration. In addition, novel channel fabrication methods based on standard thin-film processes, which are readily integratable with microfabrication techniques used for electrical components, are being applied increasingly for the creation of microfluidic devices. These new sacrificial layer fabrication approaches will be instrumental in making low-cost and high-quality polymer microchips, and in interfacing electrical and fluidic systems on glass or semiconductor substrates.