Advanced Functional Materials

Cover image for Vol. 25 Issue 4

Cover Picture: Fabrication of Stable Metallic Patterns Embedded in Poly(dimethylsiloxane) and Model Applications in Non-Planar Electronic and Lab-on-a-Chip Device Patterning (Adv. Funct. Mater. 4/2005)

15_04/2005A composite image is shown that highlights examples of device architectures that either incorporate or exploit polymer-embedded metallic microstructures. In work reported by Nuzzo and co-workers on p. 557, new applications of soft lithography, in conjunction with advanced forms of multilayer metallization, are used to construct these exceptionally durable structures. They are suitable for use in non-planar lithographic patterning, and as device components finding applications ranging from microelectronics to Lab-on-a-Chip analytical systems.

This article describes the fabrication of durable metallic patterns that are embedded in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) and demonstrates their use in several representative applications. The method involves the transfer and subsequent embedding of micrometer-scale gold (and other thin-film material) patterns into PDMS via adhesion chemistries mediated by silane coupling agents. We demonstrate the process as a suitable method for patterning stable functional metallization structures on PDMS, ones with limiting feature sizes less than 5 &mgr;m, and their subsequent utilization as structures suitable for use in applications ranging from soft-lithographic patterning, non-planar electronics, and microfluidic (lab-on-a-chip, LOC) analytical systems. We demonstrate specifically that metal patterns embedded in both planar and spherically curved PDMS substrates can be used as compliant contact photomasks for conventional photolithographic processes. The non-planar photomask fabricated with this technique has the same surface shape as the substrate, and thus facilitates the registration of structures in multilevel devices. This quality was specifically tested in a model demonstration in which an array of one hundred metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) devices was fabricated on a spherically curved Si single-crystalline lens. The most significant opportunities for the processes reported here, however, appear to reside in applications in analytical chemistry that exploit devices fabricated using the methods of soft lithography. Toward this end, we demonstrate durably bonded metal patterns on PDMS that are appropriate for use in microfluidic, microanalytical, and microelectromechanical systems. We describe a multilayer metal-electrode fabrication scheme (multilaminate metal–insulator–metal (MIM) structures that substantially enhance performance and stability) and use it to enable the construction of PDMS LOC devices using electrochemical detection. A polymer-based microelectrochemical analytical system, one incorporating an electrode array for cyclic voltammetry and a microfluidic system for the electrophoretic separation of dopamine and catechol with amperometric detection, is demonstrated.

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