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Keywords:

  • APTES;
  • functionalization of polymers;
  • micromixer;
  • mixing;
  • thermoplastics

Abstract

Over the past few years, a growing interest on covalent bonding of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic devices to thermoplastic films has developed due to reduced costs, biocompatibility, and flexibility. The silane reagent, 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES) has been applied to create this bonding. Here, we report on the fabrication of replica PDMS micromixer devices from a silicon mold using soft lithography that is rapid, facile, and cost-effective to manufacture. After replica molding, the PDMS micromixer devices were bonded to the APTES-activated thermoplastic films of polyimide, polyethylene terephthalate, and polyethylene naphthalate. Characterization of these thermoplastic surfaces was analyzed by contact angle measurement, surface free energy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. To demonstrate the functionality of this technology, we have analyzed the PDMS micromixers by a peel test, nonleakages, and mixing with the injection of inks, a surfactant, and varying pH solutions. To our knowledge, this is the first reported example in literature of the PDMS–APTES–thermoplastic films preparation that integrates a complex micromixer device. Here, we have established that the hydrophobicity of both sealed polymers required alteration in order for dispersion of a polar liquid in the mixing loops. The application of a polar solvent before injection can remedy this ill effect formulating a hydrophilic micromixer. These preliminary results demonstrate the feasibility of the fabrication technology, bonding technique, and application of the micromixer that, once optimized, can eventually integrate more components to formulate a lab-on-a-chip with the fabrication of gold microelectrodes for biological analysis of blood or plasma. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2013