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Micromachines 2016, 7(4), 65; doi:10.3390/mi7040065

Fabrication of High-Aspect-Ratio 3D Hydrogel Microstructures Using Optically Induced Electrokinetics

Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
State Key Laboratory of Robotics, Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Shenyang 110016, China
Shenzhen Academy of Robotics, Shenzhen 518000, China
Department of Power Mechanical Engineering, National Tsinghua University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sami Franssila
Received: 2 December 2015 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano-Chip Electrokinetics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2677 KB, uploaded 12 April 2016]   |  


We present a rapid hydrogel polymerization and prototyping microfabrication technique using an optically induced electrokinetics (OEK) chip, which is based on a non-UV hydrogel curing principle. Using this technique, micro-scale high-aspect-ratio three-dimensional polymer features with different geometric sizes can be fabricated within 1–10 min by projecting pre-defined visible light image patterns onto the OEK chip. This method eliminates the need for traditional photolithography masks used for patterning and fabricating polymer microstructures and simplifies the fabrication processes. This technique uses cross-link hydrogels, such as poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-diacrylate (PEGDA), as fabrication materials. We demonstrated that hydrogel micropillar arrays rapidly fabricated using this technique can be used as molds to create micron-scale cavities in PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) substrates. Furthermore, hollow, circular tubes with controllable wall thicknesses and high-aspect ratios can also be fabricated. These results show the potential of this technique to become a rapid prototyping technology for producing microfluidic devices. In addition, we show that rapid prototyping of three-dimensional suspended polymer structures is possible without any sacrificial etching process. View Full-Text
Keywords: optically induced electrokinetics; polymer microfabrication; hydrogel microstructures; 3D polymer structures optically induced electrokinetics; polymer microfabrication; hydrogel microstructures; 3D polymer structures

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, Y.; Lai, S.H.S.; Liu, N.; Zhang, G.; Liu, L.; Lee, G.-B.; Li, W.J. Fabrication of High-Aspect-Ratio 3D Hydrogel Microstructures Using Optically Induced Electrokinetics. Micromachines 2016, 7, 65.

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