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Special Issue "Polymer MEMS"

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A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2011)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Smela (Website)

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, 2176 Glenn L. Martin Hall, College Park, MD 20742 , USA
Fax: +1 301-314-9477

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymer MEMS is a fast-expanding field with wide-ranging applications, from lab-on-a-chip systems to new actuators to flexible devices. Polymer MEMS have generated excitement because they offer novel and improved functionality, as well as lower cost. This special issue seeks to capture recent developments as well as shape future directions. Our goals are to showcase interesting, high-quality research, to encourage and enable wider use of polymeric materials by the microsystems community, to advance understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the field, and to inspire new approaches and ideas.
In view of the recent advances in this exciting field, Micromachines will publish a special issue dedicated to polymer MEMS. We invite papers in all areas of polymer MEMS, including but not limited to the following topics.  Papers may be original contributions or reviews, and they may be experimental or theoretical.
  • Sensors and Actuators

    - mechanical (strain, pressure, etc.)
    - chemical and electrochemical
    - optical
    - thermal
  • Electroactive and smart materials

    - piezoelectrics
    - shape memory polymers
    - gels, conjugated polymers
    - nanocomposites
    - biomaterials
  • Microfluidics

    - technologies for cell culture, cell analysis, drug testing
    - systems for proteomics, metabolomics, genomics, etc.
    - components, including microvalves, pumps
    - sample preparation
  • Integration

    - integration with circuitry
    - integration with Si MEMS
    - packaging
    - biocompatibility
  • Fabrication

    - printing (ink jet, screen), rapid prototyping
    - molding, embossing, roll-to-roll processing
    - etching, laser machining
    - electrochemical deposition
    - UV-crosslinking, surface modification
  • Novel form factors

    - flexible, stretchable, foldable systems
    - large-area systems
    - 3D microsystems, spheres, tubes, fibers

Dr. Elisabeth Smela
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • microfabrication
  • sensor
  • actuator
  • microfluidics
  • lab on a chip
  • micro total analysis systems (MicroTAS)
  • packaging
  • integration
  • SU8
  • parylene
  • polyimide
  • smart material
  • electroactive material
  • composite

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Displaying articles 1-8
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Research

Open AccessArticle Quantitative Studies on PDMS-PDMS Interface Bonding with Piranha Solution and its Swelling Effect
Micromachines 2012, 3(2), 427-441; doi:10.3390/mi3020427
Received: 10 March 2012 / Revised: 26 April 2012 / Accepted: 26 April 2012 / Published: 4 May 2012
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (954 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, a low-cost yet effective method of irreversible bonding between two elastomeric polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) interfaces using Piranha solution is investigated. Piranha solutions at a weight ratio of 3:1 using different acids and hydrogen peroxide were attempted. The average tensile strengths [...] Read more.
In this paper, a low-cost yet effective method of irreversible bonding between two elastomeric polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) interfaces using Piranha solution is investigated. Piranha solutions at a weight ratio of 3:1 using different acids and hydrogen peroxide were attempted. The average tensile strengths of the device bonded with concentrated sulfuric acid-based piranha solution and nitric acid-based piranha solution were found to be 200 ± 20 kPa and 100 ± 15 kPa respectively. A PDMS surface treated with Piranha Solution demonstrated an increase in hydrophilicity. In addition, relatively straightforward swelling studies of PDMS using a weight loss method with common organic solvents were also investigated. Experimental results show that hexane, toluene, ethyl acetate, n-propyl alcohol and acetone swell PDMS significantly over a duration of up to 1 h and above; PDMS samples reached a steady state of swelling only after 5 min of immersion in other solvents. This will enable researchers to develop devices for the future according to the interaction between the material and the solvents in contact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer MEMS)
Open AccessArticle Flexible Tactile Sensor Using Polyurethane Thin Film
Micromachines 2012, 3(2), 315-324; doi:10.3390/mi3020315
Received: 11 February 2012 / Revised: 5 March 2012 / Accepted: 13 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (588 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A novel capacitive tactile sensor using a polyurethane thin film is proposed in this paper. In previous studies, capacitive tactile sensors generally had an air gap between two electrodes in order to enhance the sensitivity. In this study, there is only polyurethane [...] Read more.
A novel capacitive tactile sensor using a polyurethane thin film is proposed in this paper. In previous studies, capacitive tactile sensors generally had an air gap between two electrodes in order to enhance the sensitivity. In this study, there is only polyurethane thin film and no air gap between the electrodes. The sensitivity of this sensor is higher than the previous capacitive tactile sensors because the polyurethane is a fairly flexible elastomer and the film is very thin (about 1 µm). The polyurethane film is formed by spin-coating and etched back from 6 µm to 1 µm using 48% sulfuric acid. As a result of evaluation, the sensitivity of the developed sensor (diameter is 1 mm) is 1.3 pF/Pa (800 pF/N considering the sensing area). Young’s modulus of the thin polyurethane film was estimated to be 20 kPa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer MEMS)
Open AccessArticle Capacitive Tactile Sensor Based on Dielectric Oil Displacement out of a Parylene Dome into Surrounding Channels
Micromachines 2012, 3(2), 270-278; doi:10.3390/mi3020270
Received: 15 February 2012 / Revised: 14 March 2012 / Accepted: 16 March 2012 / Published: 28 March 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2905 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We propose a concept of a flexible sensor array using a novel capacitive force sensor not having a vulnerable electrode on the force applied site. It has a polymer domed structure inside which silicone oil is contained. When the force is applied, [...] Read more.
We propose a concept of a flexible sensor array using a novel capacitive force sensor not having a vulnerable electrode on the force applied site. It has a polymer domed structure inside which silicone oil is contained. When the force is applied, the oil is pushed into the surrounding thin channels, where the change in capacitance due to the inflowing dielectric oil is measured between two electrodes on the top and bottom surfaces of the channel. Since the channel does not have a directly applied external force to it, the electrodes do not suffer from damage problems. The change in capacitance was simulated using a simplified flow model. The first trial device of the sensing element has been fabricated. A sensitivity of 0.05 pF/gf was achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer MEMS)
Open AccessArticle A Flexible Capacitive Sensor with Encapsulated Liquids as Dielectrics
Micromachines 2012, 3(1), 137-149; doi:10.3390/mi3010137
Received: 1 February 2012 / Revised: 2 March 2012 / Accepted: 2 March 2012 / Published: 13 March 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (3603 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Flexible and high-sensitive capacitive sensors are demanded to detect pressure distribution and/or tactile information on a curved surface, hence, wide varieties of polymer-based flexible MEMS sensors have been developed. High-sensitivity may be achieved by increasing the capacitance of the sensor using solid [...] Read more.
Flexible and high-sensitive capacitive sensors are demanded to detect pressure distribution and/or tactile information on a curved surface, hence, wide varieties of polymer-based flexible MEMS sensors have been developed. High-sensitivity may be achieved by increasing the capacitance of the sensor using solid dielectric material while it deteriorates the flexibility. Using air as the dielectric, to maintain the flexibility, sacrifices the sensor sensitivity. In this paper, we demonstrate flexible and highly sensitive capacitive sensor arrays that encapsulate highly dielectric liquids as the dielectric. Deionized water and glycerin, which have relative dielectric constants of approximately 80 and 47, respectively, could increase the capacitance of the sensor when used as the dielectric while maintaining flexibility of the sensor with electrodes patterned on flexible polymer substrates. A reservoir of liquids between the electrodes was designed to have a leak path, which allows the sensor to deform despite of the incompressibility of the encapsulated liquids. The proposed sensor was microfabricated and demonstrated successfully to have a five times greater sensitivity than sensors that use air as the dielectric. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer MEMS)
Open AccessArticle Fabrication and Performance of a Photonic-Microfluidic Integrated Device
Micromachines 2012, 3(1), 62-77; doi:10.3390/mi3010062
Received: 20 December 2011 / Revised: 20 January 2012 / Accepted: 7 February 2012 / Published: 15 February 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (410 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fabrication and performance of a functional photonic-microfluidic flow cytometer is demonstrated. The devices are fabricated on a Pyrex substrate by photolithographically patterning the microchannels and optics in a SU-8 layer that is sealed via a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) layer through a unique chemical [...] Read more.
Fabrication and performance of a functional photonic-microfluidic flow cytometer is demonstrated. The devices are fabricated on a Pyrex substrate by photolithographically patterning the microchannels and optics in a SU-8 layer that is sealed via a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) layer through a unique chemical bonding method. The resulting devices eliminate the free-space excitation optics through integration of microlenses onto the chip to mimic conventional cytometry excitation. Devices with beam waists of 6 μm and 12 μm in fluorescent detection and counting tests using 2.5 and 6 μm beads-show CVs of 9%–13% and 23% for the two devices, respectively. These results are within the expectations for a conventional cytometer (5%–15%) and demonstrate the ability to integrate the photonic components for excitation onto the chip and the ability to maintain the level of reliable detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer MEMS)
Open AccessArticle Fabrication of Micrometer- and Nanometer-Scale Polymer Structures by Visible Light Induced Dielectrophoresis (DEP) Force
Micromachines 2011, 2(4), 431-442; doi:10.3390/mi2040431
Received: 7 November 2011 / Revised: 28 November 2011 / Accepted: 7 December 2011 / Published: 13 December 2011
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (2863 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We report in this paper a novel, inexpensive and flexible method for fabricating micrometer- and nanometer-scale three-dimensional (3D) polymer structures using visible light sources instead of ultra-violet (UV) light sources or lasers. This method also does not require the conventional micro-photolithographic technique [...] Read more.
We report in this paper a novel, inexpensive and flexible method for fabricating micrometer- and nanometer-scale three-dimensional (3D) polymer structures using visible light sources instead of ultra-violet (UV) light sources or lasers. This method also does not require the conventional micro-photolithographic technique (i.e., photolithographic masks) for patterning and fabricating polymer structures such as hydrogels. The major materials and methods required for this novel fabrication technology are: (1) any cross-linked network of photoactive polymers (examples of fabricated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-diacrylate hydrogel structures are shown in this paper); (2) an Optically-induced Dielectrophoresis (ODEP) System which includes an “ODEP chip” (i.e., any chip that changes its surface conductivity when exposed to visible light), an optical microscope, a projector, and a computer; and (3) an animator software hosted on a computer that can generate virtual or dynamic patterns which can be projected onto the “ODEP chip” through the use of a projector and a condenser lens. Essentially, by placing a photosensitive polymer solution inside the microfluidic platform formed by the “ODEP chip” bonded to another substrate, and applying an alternating current (a.c.) electrical potential across the polymer solution (typically ~20 Vp-p at 10 kHz), solid polymer micro/nano structures can then be formed on the “ODEP chip” surface when visible-light is projected onto the chip. The 2D lateral geometry (x and y dimensions) and the thickness (height) of the micro/nano structures are dictated by the image geometry of the visible light projected onto the “ODEP chip” and also the time duration of projection. Typically, after an image projection with intensity ranging from ~0.2 to 0.4 mW/cm2 for 10 s, ~200 nm high structures can be formed. In our current system, the thickness of these polymer structures can be controlled to form from ~200 nanometers to ~3 micrometers structures. However, in the in-plane dimensions, only ~7 μm resolution can be achieved now, due to the optical diffraction limit and the physical dimensions of DMD mirrors in the projector. Nevertheless, with higher quality optical components, the in-plane resolution is expected to be sub-micron. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer MEMS)
Open AccessArticle Liquid Encapsulation in Parylene Microstructures Using Integrated Annular-Plate Stiction Valves
Micromachines 2011, 2(3), 356-368; doi:10.3390/mi2030356
Received: 1 August 2011 / Revised: 28 August 2011 / Accepted: 29 August 2011 / Published: 8 September 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3147 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We report the design, fabrication and characterization of micromachined Parylene structures for self-sealing liquid encapsulation applications. Automatic sealing is enabled through the use of an integrated annular-plate stiction valve which greatly reduces device footprint over in-plane configurations. We achieve automatic wafer-level liquid [...] Read more.
We report the design, fabrication and characterization of micromachined Parylene structures for self-sealing liquid encapsulation applications. Automatic sealing is enabled through the use of an integrated annular-plate stiction valve which greatly reduces device footprint over in-plane configurations. We achieve automatic wafer-level liquid entrapment without using adhesives or processing at elevated pressures or temperatures. The ability to track changes to the internal liquid volume through the use of electrochemical impedance measurements is also presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer MEMS)
Open AccessArticle Ultrasonic Hot Embossing
Micromachines 2011, 2(2), 157-166; doi:10.3390/mi2020157
Received: 31 March 2011 / Revised: 3 May 2011 / Accepted: 9 May 2011 / Published: 11 May 2011
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ultrasonic hot embossing is a new process for fast and low-cost production of micro systems from polymer. Investment costs are on the order of 20.000 € and cycle times are a few seconds. Microstructures are fabricated on polymer foils and can be [...] Read more.
Ultrasonic hot embossing is a new process for fast and low-cost production of micro systems from polymer. Investment costs are on the order of 20.000 € and cycle times are a few seconds. Microstructures are fabricated on polymer foils and can be combined to three-dimensional systems by ultrasonic welding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer MEMS)

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