SU-8 and PDMS-based Hybrid Fabrication Technology for Combination of Permanently Bonded Flexible and Rigid Features on a Single Device

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Final version published as: 

"SU-8 and PDMS-based Hybrid Fabrication Technology for Combination of Permanently Bonded Flexible and Rigid Features on a Single Device," Patel, J.N.; Gray, B.L.; Kaminska, B.; Wu, N.-C.; Gates, B.D., J. Micromech. Microeng. 2013, 23, 065029. DOI: 10.1088/0960-1317/23/6/065029.

Date created: 

In this article, a novel hybrid fabrication technology is presented that uses both a flexible polymer (polydimethylsiloxane-–PDMS) and a rigid polymer (SU-8). A covalent bond between the flexible and rigid polymer layers is achieved using an oxygen plasma treatment during a layer-by-layer direct spin-on process. Precise alignment of the features in each layer and a highly repeatable method are achieved by this new process. As a proof-of-concept, we successfully fabricated PDMS-based flexible microfluidic devices with SU-8-based rigid world-to-chip/chip-to-world interconnects. The bond strength between the PDMS and SU-8 layers is measured by three methods: (1) Instron® microtester to pull apart the layers; (2) voice coil actuator to test the bond between interconnects and the substrate; and (3) microfluidic pressurization test to evaluate the bond strength along the channels. The bond strength between the flexible PDMS layer and the rigid SU-8 features is very strong; the bond between these two polymers does not fail during these evaluations although the integrity of the PDMS layer itself fails during the microtester evaluation. Additionally, the layer-by-layer direct spin-on process resulted in a repeatable process and precise alignment of the features in each layer, which are necessary in order to achieve consistent performance from the fabricated devices. The rigid SU-8 interconnects fabricated onto a flexible PDMS device serve as a world-to-chip/chip-to-world interconnects for the direct connection with Tygon® tubing. Three different designs of hybrid (PDMS and SU-8 based) microfluidic devices are designed, fabricated and tested. Each variation differed in the microchannel design in order to demonstrate the versatility of the process to make devices on multiple scales and patterns. These hybrid microfluidic devices are capable of functioning without leakage up to pressures of 85.85 ±3.56 kPa. Although microfluidic channels with interconnects are shown as a proof-of-concept, the fabrication process demonstrated herein could be utilized to develop a number of more sophisticated microfluidic and biomedical devices.

Document type: 
Rights remain with the authors.