Micromachines2014, 5(3), 486-495; doi:10.3390/mi5030486 - published online 23 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A major breakthrough in UV-LIGA (Lithographie, Galvanoformung and Abformung) started with the use of epoxy-based EPON® SU-8 photoresist in the mid-1990s. Using this photoresist has enabled the fabrication of tall and high aspect ratio structures without the use of a very expensive synchrotron source needed to expose the photoresist layer in X-ray LIGA. SU-8 photoresist appeared to be well-suited for LIGA templates, but also as a permanent material. Based on UV-LIGA and SU-8, Mimotec SA has developed processes to manufacture mold inserts and metallic components for various market fields. From one to three-level parts, from Ni to other materials, from simple to complicated parts with integrated functionalities, UV-LIGA has established itself as a manufacturing technology of importance for prototyping, as well as for mass-fabrication. This paper reviews some of the developments that led to commercial success in this field.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 472-485; doi:10.3390/mi5030472 - published online 22 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This work presents patterning of thick (10–50 µm) hybrid polymer structures of ORMOCER® by laser direct writing. ORMOCER® combine polymer-like fabrication processes with glass-like surface chemistry that is beneficial for many bio-microfluidic applications. ORMOCER® is liquid before exposure, so patterning is done by contact-free lithography, such as proximity exposure. With laser direct writing, we obtained higher resolution patterns, with smaller radius of curvature (~2–4 µm), compared to proximity exposure (~10–20 µm). Process parameters were studied to find the optimal dose for different exposure conditions and ORMOCER® layer thicknesses. Two fluidic devices were successfully fabricated: a directional wetting device (fluidic diode) and an electrophoresis chip. The fluidic diode chip operation depends on the sharp corner geometry and water contact angle, and both have been successfully tailored to obtain diodicity. Electrophoresis chips were used to separate of two fluorescent dyes, rhodamine 123 and fluorescein. The electrophoresis chip also made use of ORMOCER® to ORMOCER® bonding.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 457-471; doi:10.3390/mi5030457 - published online 21 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article describes the manufacturing and characterisation of plano-convex miniaturised lenses using a CO2 laser engraving process in PMMA substrates. The technique allows for lenses to be fabricated rapidly and in a reproducible manner at depths of over 200 µm and for lens diameters of more than 3 mm. Experimental characterisation of the lens focal lengths shows good correlation with theory. The plano-convex lenses have been successfully embedded into capillary microfluidic systems alongside planar microlenses, allowing for a significant reduction of ancillary optics without a loss of detection sensitivity when performing fluorescence measurements. Such technology provides a significant step forward towards the portability of fluorescence- or luminescence-based systems for biological/chemical analysis.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 442-456; doi:10.3390/mi5030442 - published online 18 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper introduces the synchronous micromotor concept and presents new investigations on its application as an integrated driving mechanism in microfluidic systems. A spiral channel viscous micropump and a microstirrer are considered and tested as examples to verify the concept. The fabrication technology of such integrated systems is based on UV depth lithography, electroplating and soft lithography. The synchronous micromotor consists of a stator including double layer coils, and a rotor disk containing alternate permanent magnets. The coils are distributed evenly around the stator and arranged in three phases. The phases are excited by sinusoidal currents with a corresponding phase shift resulting in a rotating magnetic field. Regarding the spiral channel viscous micropump, a spiral disk was fixed onto the rotor disk and run at different rotational speeds. Tests showed very promising results, with a flow rate up to 1023 µL·min−1 at a motor rotational speed of 4500 rpm. Furthermore, for the application of a microstirred-tank bioreactor, the rotor disk design was modified to work as a stirrer. The performance of the developed microbioreactor was tested over a time period of approximately 10 h under constant stirring. Tests demonstrated the successful cultivation of S. cerevisiae through the integration of the microstirrer in a microbioreactor system. These systems prove that synchronous micromotors are well suited to serve as integrated driving mechanisms of active microfluidic components.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 432-441; doi:10.3390/mi5030432 - published online 4 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We present a flexible variable-focus converging microlens actuated by electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD). The microlens is made of two immiscible liquids and a soft polymer, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Parylene intermediate layer is used to produce robust flexible electrode on PDMS. A low-temperature PDMS-compatible fabrication process has been developed to reduce the stress on the lens structure. The lens has been demonstrated to be able to conform to curved surfaces smoothly. The focal length of the microlens is 29–38 mm on a flat surface, and 31–41 mm on a curved surface, varying with the voltage applied. The resolving power of the microlens is 25.39 line pairs per mm by a 1951 United States Air Force (USAF) resolution chart and the lens aberrations are measured by a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor. The focal length behavior on a curved surface is discussed and for the current lens demonstrated the focal length is slightly longer on the curved surface as a result of the effect of the curved PDMS substrate.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 420-431; doi:10.3390/mi5030420 - published online 3 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: An ultrasonic transducer is a key component to achieve ultrasonic imaging. This paper designs a new type of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) based capacitive ultrasonic transducer and a linear array based on the transducer. Through directivity analysis, it can be found that its directivity is weak due to the small size of the designed transducer, but the directivity of the designed linear array is very strong. In order to further suppress the sidelobe interference and improve the resolution of the imaging system and imaging quality, the Dolph-Chebyshev weighting method and the Taylor weighting method are used to process −40dB sidelobe suppression, and satisfactory results are obtained, which can meet actual requirements.