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Rapid Fabrication of Membrane-Integrated Thermoplastic Elastomer Microfluidic Devices

Elvesys Microfluidics Innovation Center, 75011 Paris, France
Centre for Membrane Separations, Adsorption, Catalysis and Spectroscopy for Sustainable Solutions (cMACS), Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, UMR7140, 4 Rue Blaise Pascal, 67081 Strasbourg, France
Biomolecular Photonics, Department of Physics, University of Bielefeld, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2020, 11(8), 731;
Received: 22 June 2020 / Revised: 19 July 2020 / Accepted: 25 July 2020 / Published: 28 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Top-Down Micro- or Nanofabrication and Its Applications)
Leveraging the advantageous material properties of recently developed soft thermoplastic elastomer materials, this work presents the facile and rapid fabrication of composite membrane-integrated microfluidic devices consisting of FlexdymTM polymer and commercially available porous polycarbonate membranes. The three-layer devices can be fabricated in under 2.5 h, consisting of a 2-min hot embossing cycle, conformal contact between device layers and a low-temperature baking step. The strength of the FlexdymTM-polycarbonate seal was characterized using a specialized microfluidic delamination device and an automated pressure controller configuration, offering a standardized and high-throughput method of microfluidic burst testing. Given a minimum bonding distance of 200 μm, the materials showed bonding that reliably withstood pressures of 500 mbar and above, which is sufficient for most microfluidic cell culture applications. Bonding was also stable when subjected to long term pressurization (10 h) and repeated use (10,000 pressure cycles). Cell culture trials confirmed good cell adhesion and sustained culture of human dermal fibroblasts on a polycarbonate membrane inside the device channels over the course of one week. In comparison to existing porous membrane-based microfluidic platforms of this configuration, most often made of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), these devices offer a streamlined fabrication methodology with materials having favourable properties for cell culture applications and the potential for implementation in barrier model organ-on-chips. View Full-Text
Keywords: rapid fabrication; thermoplastic elastomer; microfluidic device; membrane-based cell culture; delamination testing rapid fabrication; thermoplastic elastomer; microfluidic device; membrane-based cell culture; delamination testing
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MDPI and ACS Style

McMillan, A.H.; Thomée, E.K.; Dellaquila, A.; Nassman, H.; Segura, T.; Lesher-Pérez, S.C. Rapid Fabrication of Membrane-Integrated Thermoplastic Elastomer Microfluidic Devices. Micromachines 2020, 11, 731.

AMA Style

McMillan AH, Thomée EK, Dellaquila A, Nassman H, Segura T, Lesher-Pérez SC. Rapid Fabrication of Membrane-Integrated Thermoplastic Elastomer Microfluidic Devices. Micromachines. 2020; 11(8):731.

Chicago/Turabian Style

McMillan, Alexander H., Emma K. Thomée, Alessandra Dellaquila, Hussam Nassman, Tatiana Segura, and Sasha C. Lesher-Pérez. 2020. "Rapid Fabrication of Membrane-Integrated Thermoplastic Elastomer Microfluidic Devices" Micromachines 11, no. 8: 731.

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