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Micromachines, Volume 9, Issue 4 (April 2018)

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Open AccessPerspective Emerging Anti-Fouling Methods: Towards Reusability of 3D-Printed Devices for Biomedical Applications
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040196
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 7 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
Microfluidic devices are used in a myriad of biomedical applications such as cancer screening, drug testing, and point-of-care diagnostics. Three-dimensional (3D) printing offers a low-cost, rapid prototyping, efficient fabrication method, as compared to the costly—in terms of time, labor, and resources—traditional fabrication method
[...] Read more.
Microfluidic devices are used in a myriad of biomedical applications such as cancer screening, drug testing, and point-of-care diagnostics. Three-dimensional (3D) printing offers a low-cost, rapid prototyping, efficient fabrication method, as compared to the costly—in terms of time, labor, and resources—traditional fabrication method of soft lithography of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Various 3D printing methods are applicable, including fused deposition modeling, stereolithography, and photopolymer inkjet printing. Additionally, several materials are available that have low-viscosity in their raw form and, after printing and curing, exhibit high material strength, optical transparency, and biocompatibility. These features make 3D-printed microfluidic chips ideal for biomedical applications. However, for developing devices capable of long-term use, fouling—by nonspecific protein absorption and bacterial adhesion due to the intrinsic hydrophobicity of most 3D-printed materials—presents a barrier to reusability. For this reason, there is a growing interest in anti-fouling methods and materials. Traditional and emerging approaches to anti-fouling are presented in regard to their applicability to microfluidic chips, with a particular interest in approaches compatible with 3D-printed chips. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printed Microfluidic Devices)
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Open AccessArticle Maskless Surface Modification of Polyurethane Films by an Atmospheric Pressure He/O2 Plasma Microjet for Gelatin Immobilization
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040195
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 1 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
A localized maskless modification method of polyurethane (PU) films through an atmospheric pressure He/O2 plasma microjet (APPμJ) was proposed. The APPμJ system combines an atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) with a microfabricated silicon micronozzle with dimension of 30 μm, which has advantages
[...] Read more.
A localized maskless modification method of polyurethane (PU) films through an atmospheric pressure He/O2 plasma microjet (APPμJ) was proposed. The APPμJ system combines an atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) with a microfabricated silicon micronozzle with dimension of 30 μm, which has advantages of simple structure and low cost. The possibility of APPμJ in functionalizing PU films with hydroxyl (–OH) groups and covalent grafting of gelatin for improving its biocompatibility was demonstrated. The morphologies and chemical compositions of the modified surface were analyzed by scanning electronic microscopy (SEM), Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The fluorescent images show the modified surface can be divided into four areas with different fluorescence intensity from the center to the outside domain. The distribution of the rings could be controlled by plasma process parameters, such as the treatment time and the flow rate of O2. When the treatment time is 4 to 5 min with the oxygen percentage of 0.6%, the PU film can be effectively local functionalized with the diameter of 170 μm. In addition, the modification mechanism of PU films by the APPμJ is investigated. The localized polymer modified by APPμJ has potential applications in the field of tissue engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasma-Based Surface Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Particle-Based Microfluidic Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) Biosensing Utilizing Mass Amplification and Magnetic Bead Convection
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040194
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
Microfluidic quartz crystal microbalances (QCM) can be used as powerful biosensors that not only allow quantifying a target analyte, but also provide kinetic information about the surface processes of binding and release. Nevertheless, their practical use as point-of-care devices is restricted by a
[...] Read more.
Microfluidic quartz crystal microbalances (QCM) can be used as powerful biosensors that not only allow quantifying a target analyte, but also provide kinetic information about the surface processes of binding and release. Nevertheless, their practical use as point-of-care devices is restricted by a limit of detection (LoD) of some ng/cm². It prohibits the measurement of small molecules in low concentrations within the initial sample. Here, two concepts based on superparamagnetic particles are presented that allow enhancing the LoD of a QCM. First, a particle-enhanced C-reactive protein (CRP) measurement on a QCM is shown. The signal response could be increased by a factor of up to five by utilizing the particles for mass amplification. Further, a scheme for sample pre-preparation utilizing convective up-concentration involving magnetic bead manipulation is investigated. These experiments are carried out with a glass device that is fabricated by utilizing a femtosecond laser. Operation regimes for the magnetic manipulation of particles within the microfluidic channel with integrated pole pieces that are activated by external permanent magnets are described. Finally, the potential combination of the concepts of mass amplification and up-concentration within an integrated lab-on-a chip device is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle Parametric Excitation of Optomechanical Resonators by Periodical Modulation
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040193
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
Optical excitation of mechanical resonators has long been a research interest, since it has great applications in the physical and engineering field. Previous optomechanical methods rely on the wavelength-dependent, optical anti-damping effects, with the working range limited to the blue-detuning range. In this
[...] Read more.
Optical excitation of mechanical resonators has long been a research interest, since it has great applications in the physical and engineering field. Previous optomechanical methods rely on the wavelength-dependent, optical anti-damping effects, with the working range limited to the blue-detuning range. In this study, we experimentally demonstrated the excitation of optomechanical resonators by periodical modulation. The wavelength working range was extended from the blue-detuning to red-detuning range. This demonstration will provide a new way to excite mechanical resonators and benefit practical applications, such as optical mass sensors and gyroscopes with an extended working range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optofluidics: From Fundamental Research to Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Multiple Electrohydrodynamic Effects on the Morphology and Running Behavior of Tiny Liquid Metal Motors
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040192
Received: 20 March 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
Minimized motors can harvest different types of energy and transfer them into kinetic power to carry out complex operations, such as targeted drug delivery, health care, sensing and so on. In recent years, the liquid metal motor is emerging as a very promising
[...] Read more.
Minimized motors can harvest different types of energy and transfer them into kinetic power to carry out complex operations, such as targeted drug delivery, health care, sensing and so on. In recent years, the liquid metal motor is emerging as a very promising tiny machine. This work is dedicated to investigate the motion characteristics of self-powered liquid metal droplet machines under external electric field, after engulfing a small amount of aluminum. Two new non-dimensional parameters, named Ä and Ö , are put forward for the first time to evaluate the ratio of the forces resulting from the electric field to the fluidic viscous force and the ratio of the friction force to the fluidic viscous force. Forces exerted on liquid metal droplets, the viscosity between the droplet and the surrounding fluid, the pressure difference on both ends, the friction between the bottom of the droplet and the sink base, and bubble propulsion force are evaluated and estimated regarding whether they are impetus or resistance. Effects of electric field intensity, droplet size, solution concentration and surface roughness etc. on the morphology and running behavior of such tiny liquid metal motors are clarified in detail. This work sheds light on the moving mechanism of the liquid metal droplet in aqueous solutions, preparing for more precise and complicated control of liquid metal soft machines. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Open Design 3D-Printable Adjustable Micropipette that Meets the ISO Standard for Accuracy
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040191
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
Scientific communities are drawn to the open source model as an increasingly utilitarian method to produce and share work. Initially used as a means to develop freely-available software, open source projects have been applied to hardware including scientific tools. Increasing convenience of 3D
[...] Read more.
Scientific communities are drawn to the open source model as an increasingly utilitarian method to produce and share work. Initially used as a means to develop freely-available software, open source projects have been applied to hardware including scientific tools. Increasing convenience of 3D printing has fueled the proliferation of open labware projects aiming to develop and share designs for scientific tools that can be produced in-house as inexpensive alternatives to commercial products. We present our design of a micropipette that is assembled from 3D-printable parts and some hardware that works by actuating a disposable syringe to a user-adjustable limit. Graduations on the syringe are used to accurately adjust the set point to the desired volume. Our open design printed micropipette is assessed in comparison with a commercial pipette and meets the ISO 8655 standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printed Microfluidic Devices)
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Open AccessArticle Electrostatically Driven In-Plane Silicon Micropump for Modular Configuration
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040190
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, an in-plane reciprocating displacement micropump for liquids and gases which is actuated by a new class of electrostatic bending actuators is reported. The so-called “Nano Electrostatic Drive” is capable of deflecting beyond the electrode gap distance, enabling large generated forces
[...] Read more.
In this paper, an in-plane reciprocating displacement micropump for liquids and gases which is actuated by a new class of electrostatic bending actuators is reported. The so-called “Nano Electrostatic Drive” is capable of deflecting beyond the electrode gap distance, enabling large generated forces and deflections. Depending on the requirements of the targeted system, the micropump can be modularly designed to meet the specified differential pressures and flow rates by a serial and parallel arrangement of equally working pumping base units. Two selected, medium specific micropump test structure devices for pumping air and isopropanol were designed and investigated. An analytical approach of the driving unit is presented and two-way Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) simulations of the micropump were carried out to determine the dynamic behavior. The simulation showed that the test structure device designed for air expected to overcome a total differential pressure of 130 kPa and deliver a flow rate of 0.11 sccm at a 265 Hz driving frequency. The isopropanol design is expected to generate 210 kPa and pump 0.01 sccm at 21 Hz. The device is monolithically fabricated by CMOS-compatible bulk micromachining processes under the use of standard materials only, such as crystalline silicon, silicon dioxide and alumina. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Position-Space-Based Design of a Symmetric Spatial Translational Compliant Mechanism for Micro-/Nano-Manipulation
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040189
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Symmetry enables excellent motion performance of compliant mechanisms, such as minimized parasitic motion, reduced cross-axis coupling, mitigated buckling, and decreased thermal sensitivity. However, most existing symmetric compliant mechanisms are heavily over-constrained due to the fact that they are usually obtained by directly adding
[...] Read more.
Symmetry enables excellent motion performance of compliant mechanisms, such as minimized parasitic motion, reduced cross-axis coupling, mitigated buckling, and decreased thermal sensitivity. However, most existing symmetric compliant mechanisms are heavily over-constrained due to the fact that they are usually obtained by directly adding over-constraints to the associated non-symmetric compliant mechanisms. Therefore, existing symmetric compliant mechanisms usually have relatively complex structures and relatively large actuation stiffness. This paper presents a position-space-based approach to the design of symmetric compliant mechanisms. Using this position-space-based approach, a non-symmetric compliant mechanism can be reconfigured into a symmetric compliant mechanism by rearranging the compliant modules and adding minimal over-constraints. A symmetric spatial translational compliant parallel mechanism (symmetric XYZ compliant parallel mechanism (CPM)) is designed using the position-space-based design approach in this paper. Furthermore, the actuation forces of the symmetric XYZ CPM are nonlinearly and analytically modelled, which are represented by the given primary translations and the geometrical parameters. The maximum difference, between the nonlinear analytical results and the nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA) results, is less than 2.58%. Additionally, a physical prototype of the symmetric XYZ CPM is fabricated, and the desirable motion characteristics such as minimized cross-axis coupling are also verified by FEA simulations and experimental testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Micro-/Nano-system and Technology)
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Open AccessArticle A Horizontal Magnetic Tweezers and Its Use for Studying Single DNA Molecules
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040188
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
We report the development of a magnetic tweezers that can be used to micromanipulate single DNA molecules by applying picoNewton (pN)-scale forces in the horizontal plane. The resulting force–extension data from our experiments show high-resolution detection of changes in the DNA tether’s extension:
[...] Read more.
We report the development of a magnetic tweezers that can be used to micromanipulate single DNA molecules by applying picoNewton (pN)-scale forces in the horizontal plane. The resulting force–extension data from our experiments show high-resolution detection of changes in the DNA tether’s extension: ~0.5 pN in the force and <10 nm change in extension. We calibrate our instrument using multiple orthogonal techniques including the well-characterized DNA overstretching transition. We also quantify the repeatability of force and extension measurements, and present data on the behavior of the overstretching transition under varying salt conditions. The design and experimental protocols are described in detail, which should enable straightforward reproduction of the tweezers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro Technologies for Single Molecule Manipulation and Detection)
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Open AccessArticle Progress on the Use of Commercial Digital Optical Disc Units for Low-Power Laser Micromachining in Biomedical Applications
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040187
Received: 23 March 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
The development of organ-on-chip and biological scaffolds is currently requiring simpler methods for microstructure biocompatible materials in three dimensions, to fabricate structural and functional elements in biomaterials, or modify the physicochemical properties of desired substrates. Aiming at addressing this need, a low-power CD-DVD-Blu-ray
[...] Read more.
The development of organ-on-chip and biological scaffolds is currently requiring simpler methods for microstructure biocompatible materials in three dimensions, to fabricate structural and functional elements in biomaterials, or modify the physicochemical properties of desired substrates. Aiming at addressing this need, a low-power CD-DVD-Blu-ray laser pickup head was mounted on a programmable three-axis micro-displacement system in order to modify the surface of polymeric materials in a local fashion. Thanks to a specially-designed method using a strongly absorbing additive coating the materials of interest, it has been possible to establish and precisely control processes useful in microtechnology for biomedical applications. The system was upgraded with Blu-ray laser for additive manufacturing and ablation on a single platform. In this work, we present the application of these fabrication techniques to the development of biomimetic cellular culture platforms thanks to the simple integration of several features typically achieved with traditional, less cost-effective microtechnology methods in one step or through replica-molding. Our straightforward approach indeed enables great control of local laser microablation or polymerization for true on-demand biomimetic micropatterned designs in transparent polymers and hydrogels and is allowing integration of microfluidics, microelectronics, surface microstructuring, and transfer of superficial protein micropatterns on a variety of biocompatible materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro-Machining: Challenges and Opportunities)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Fabrication of an Anti-Reflective and Super-Hydrophobic Structure by Vacuum Ultraviolet Light-Assisted Bonding and Nanoscale Pattern Transfer
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040186
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 15 April 2018
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Abstract
The application of subwavelength, textured structures to glass surfaces has been shown to reduce reflectivity and also results in self-cleaning due to super-hydrophobicity. However, current methods of producing such textures are typically either expensive or difficult to scale up. Based on prior work
[...] Read more.
The application of subwavelength, textured structures to glass surfaces has been shown to reduce reflectivity and also results in self-cleaning due to super-hydrophobicity. However, current methods of producing such textures are typically either expensive or difficult to scale up. Based on prior work by the authors, the present study employed a combination of vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light-assisted bonding and release agent-free pattern transfer to fabricate a moth-eye texture on a glass substrate. This was accomplished by forming a cyclic olefin polymer mold master with a moth-eye pattern, transferring this pattern to a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) spin coating, activating both the PDMS and a glass substrate with VUV light, and then bonding the PDMS to the glass before releasing the mold. Atomic force microscopy demonstrated that the desired pattern was successfully replicated on the PDMS surface with a high degree of accuracy, and the textured glass specimen exhibited approximately 3% higher transmittance than untreated glass. Contact angle measurements also showed that the hydrophobicity of the textured surface was significantly increased. These results confirm that this new technique is a viable means of fabricating optical nanostructures via a simple, inexpensive process. Full article
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Open AccessReview Research and Analysis of MEMS Switches in Different Frequency Bands
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040185
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 15 April 2018
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Abstract
Due to their high isolation, low insertion loss, high linearity, and low power consumption, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches have drawn much attention from researchers in recent years. In this paper, we introduce the research status of MEMS switches in different bands and several
[...] Read more.
Due to their high isolation, low insertion loss, high linearity, and low power consumption, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches have drawn much attention from researchers in recent years. In this paper, we introduce the research status of MEMS switches in different bands and several reliability issues, such as dielectric charging, contact failure, and temperature instability. In this paper, some of the following methods to improve the performance of MEMS switches in high frequency are summarized: (1) utilizing combinations of several switches in series; (2) covering a float metal layer on the dielectric layer; (3) using dielectric layer materials with high dielectric constants and conductor materials with low resistance; (4) developing MEMS switches using T-match and π-match; (5) designing MEMS switches based on bipolar complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (BiCMOS) technology and reconfigurable MEMS’ surfaces; (6) employing thermal compensation structures, circularly symmetric structures, thermal buckle-beam actuators, molybdenum membrane, and thin-film packaging; (7) selecting Ultra-NanoCrystalline diamond or aluminum nitride dielectric materials and applying a bipolar driving voltage, stoppers, and a double-dielectric-layer structure; and (8) adopting gold alloying with carbon nanotubes (CNTs), hermetic and reliable packaging, and mN-level contact. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Topology Optimization of Spatially Compliant Mechanisms with an Isomorphic Matrix of a 3-UPC Type Parallel Prototype Manipulator
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040184
Received: 25 February 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 14 April 2018
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Abstract
A novel topology optimization approach is proposed in this paper for the design of three rotational degree-of-freedom (DOF) spatially compliant mechanisms, combining the Jacobian isomorphic mapping matrix with the solid isotropic material with penalization (SIMP) topological method. In this approach, the isomorphic Jacobian
[...] Read more.
A novel topology optimization approach is proposed in this paper for the design of three rotational degree-of-freedom (DOF) spatially compliant mechanisms, combining the Jacobian isomorphic mapping matrix with the solid isotropic material with penalization (SIMP) topological method. In this approach, the isomorphic Jacobian matrix of a 3-UPC (U: universal joint, P: prismatic joint, C: cylindrical joint) type parallel prototype manipulator is formulated. Subsequently, the orthogonal triangular decomposition and differential kinematic method is applied to uncouple the Jacobian matrix to construct a constraint for topology optimization. Firstly, with respect to the 3-UPC type parallel prototype manipulator, the Jacobian matrix is derived to map the inputs and outputs to be used for initializing the topology optimization process. Secondly, the orthogonal triangular decomposition with the differential kinematic method is used to reconstruct the uncoupled mapping matrix to derive the 3-UPC type parallel prototype manipulator. Finally, a combination of the solid isotropic material with penalization (SIMP) method and the isomorphic mapping matrix is applied to construct the topological model. A typical three rotational DOF spatially compliant mechanism is reported as a numerical example to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Full article
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Open AccessReview High-Throughput Optofluidic Acquisition of Microdroplets in Microfluidic Systems
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040183
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 14 April 2018
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Abstract
Droplet optofluidics technology aims at manipulating the tiny volume of fluids confined in micro-droplets with light, while exploiting their interaction to create “digital” micro-systems with highly significant scientific and technological interests. Manipulating droplets with light is particularly attractive since the latter provides wavelength
[...] Read more.
Droplet optofluidics technology aims at manipulating the tiny volume of fluids confined in micro-droplets with light, while exploiting their interaction to create “digital” micro-systems with highly significant scientific and technological interests. Manipulating droplets with light is particularly attractive since the latter provides wavelength and intensity tunability, as well as high temporal and spatial resolution. In this review study, we focus mainly on recent methods developed in order to monitor real-time analysis of droplet size and size distribution, active merging of microdroplets using light, or to use microdroplets as optical probes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optofluidics) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessCommunication Photopatternable Magnetic Hollowbots by Nd-Fe-B Nanocomposite for Potential Targeted Drug Delivery Applications
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040182
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
In contrast to traditional drug administration, targeted drug delivery can prolong, localize, target and have a protected drug interaction with the diseased tissue. Drug delivery carriers, such as polymeric micelles, liposomes, dendrimers, nanotubes, and so on, are hard to scale-up, costly, and have
[...] Read more.
In contrast to traditional drug administration, targeted drug delivery can prolong, localize, target and have a protected drug interaction with the diseased tissue. Drug delivery carriers, such as polymeric micelles, liposomes, dendrimers, nanotubes, and so on, are hard to scale-up, costly, and have short shelf life. Here we show the novel fabrication and characterization of photopatternable magnetic hollow microrobots that can potentially be utilized in microfluidics and drug delivery applications. These magnetic hollowbots can be fabricated using standard ultraviolet (UV) lithography with low cost and easily accessible equipment, which results in them being easy to scale up, and inexpensive to fabricate. Contact-free actuation of freestanding magnetic hollowbots were demonstrated by using an applied 900 G external magnetic field to achieve the movement control in an aqueous environment. According to the movement clip, the average speed of the magnetic hollowbots was estimated to be 1.9 mm/s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Locomotion at Small Scales: From Biology to Artificial Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Bonding-Based Wafer-Level Vacuum Packaging Using Atomic Hydrogen Pre-Treated Cu Bonding Frames
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040181
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
A novel surface activation technology for Cu-Cu bonding-based wafer-level vacuum packaging using hot-wire-generated atomic hydrogen treatment was developed. Vacuum sealing temperature at 300 °C was achieved by atomic hydrogen pre-treatment for Cu native oxide reduction, while 350 °C was needed by the conventional
[...] Read more.
A novel surface activation technology for Cu-Cu bonding-based wafer-level vacuum packaging using hot-wire-generated atomic hydrogen treatment was developed. Vacuum sealing temperature at 300 °C was achieved by atomic hydrogen pre-treatment for Cu native oxide reduction, while 350 °C was needed by the conventional wet chemical oxide reduction procedure. A remote-type hot-wire tool was employed to minimize substrate overheating by thermal emission from the hot-wire. The maximum substrate temperature during the pre-treatment is lower than the temperature of Cu nano-grain re-crystallization, which enhances Cu atomic diffusion during the bonding process. Even after 24 h wafer storage in atmospheric conditions after atomic hydrogen irradiation, low-temperature vacuum sealing was achieved because surface hydrogen species grown by the atomic hydrogen treatment suppressed re-oxidation. Vacuum sealing yield, pressure in the sealed cavity and bonding shear strength by atomic hydrogen pre-treated Cu-Cu bonding are 90%, 5 kPa and 100 MPa, respectively, which are equivalent to conventional Cu-Cu bonding at higher temperature. Leak rate of the bonded device is less than 10−14 Pa m3 s−1 order, which is applicable for practical use. The developed technology can contribute to low-temperature hermetic packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wafer Level Packaging of MEMS)
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Open AccessArticle Quantitative Evaluation of Dielectric Breakdown of Silicon Micro- and Nanofluidic Devices for Electrophoretic Transport of a Single DNA Molecule
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040180
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
PDF Full-text (10663 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In the present study, we quantitatively evaluated dielectric breakdown in silicon-based micro- and nanofluidic devices under practical electrophoretic conditions by changing the thickness of the insulating layer. At higher buffer concentration, a silicon nanofluidic device with a 100 nm or 250 nm silicon
[...] Read more.
In the present study, we quantitatively evaluated dielectric breakdown in silicon-based micro- and nanofluidic devices under practical electrophoretic conditions by changing the thickness of the insulating layer. At higher buffer concentration, a silicon nanofluidic device with a 100 nm or 250 nm silicon dioxide layer tolerated dielectric breakdown up to ca. 10 V/cm, thereby allowing successful electrophoretic migration of a single DNA molecule through a nanochannel. The observed DNA migration behavior suggested that parameters, such as thickness of the insulating layer, tolerance of dielectric breakdown, and bonding status of silicon and glass substrate, should be optimized to achieve successful electrophoretic transport of a DNA molecule through a nanopore for nanopore-based DNA sequencing applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Lab-on-a-Chip Technology in Japan)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle On Developing Field-Effect-Tunable Nanofluidic Ion Diodes with Bipolar, Induced-Charge Electrokinetics
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040179
Received: 10 March 2018 / Revised: 7 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
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Abstract
We introduce herein the induced-charge electrokinetic phenomenon to nanometer fluidic systems; the design of the nanofluidic ion diode for field-effect ionic current control of the nanometer dimension is developed by enhancing internal ion concentration polarization through electrochemical transport of inhomogeneous inducing-counterions resulting from
[...] Read more.
We introduce herein the induced-charge electrokinetic phenomenon to nanometer fluidic systems; the design of the nanofluidic ion diode for field-effect ionic current control of the nanometer dimension is developed by enhancing internal ion concentration polarization through electrochemical transport of inhomogeneous inducing-counterions resulting from double gate terminals mounted on top of a thin dielectric layer, which covers the nanochannel connected to microfluidic reservoirs on both sides. A mathematical model based on the fully-coupled Poisson-Nernst-Plank-Navier-Stokes equations is developed to study the feasibility of this structural configuration causing effective ionic current rectification. The effect of various physiochemical and geometrical parameters, such as the native surface charge density on the nanochannel sidewalls, the number of gate electrodes (GE), the gate voltage magnitude, and the solution conductivity, permittivity, and thickness of the dielectric coating, as well as the size and position of the GE pair of opposite gate polarity, on the resulted rectification performance of the presented nanoscale ionic device is numerically analyzed by using a commercial software package, COMSOL Multiphysics (version 5.2). Three types of electrohydrodynamic flow, including electroosmosis of 1st kind, induced-charge electroosmosis, and electroosmosis of 2nd kind that were originated by the Coulomb force within three distinct charge layers coexist in the micro/nanofluidic hybrid network and are shown to simultaneously influence the output current flux in a complex manner. The rectification factor of a contrast between the ‘on’ and ‘off’ working states can even exceed one thousand-fold in the case of choosing a suitable combination of several key parameters. Our demonstration of field-effect-tunable nanofluidic ion diodes of double external gate electrodes proves invaluable for the construction of a flexible electrokinetic platform for ionic current control and may help transform the field of smart, on-chip, integrated circuits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano-Chip Electrokinetics, Volume II)
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Open AccessArticle Fabrication Technology and Characteristics Research of the Acceleration Sensor Based on Li-Doped ZnO Piezoelectric Thin Films
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040178
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
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Abstract
An acceleration sensor based on piezoelectric thin films is proposed in this paper, which comprises the elastic element of a silicon cantilever beam and a piezoelectric structure with Li-doped ZnO piezoelectric thin films. The Li-doped ZnO piezoelectric thin films were prepared on SiO
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An acceleration sensor based on piezoelectric thin films is proposed in this paper, which comprises the elastic element of a silicon cantilever beam and a piezoelectric structure with Li-doped ZnO piezoelectric thin films. The Li-doped ZnO piezoelectric thin films were prepared on SiO2/Si by radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering method. The microstructure and micrograph of ZnO piezoelectric thin films is analysed by a X-ray diffractometer (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM), respectively. When the sputtering power of 220 W and Li-doped concentration of 5%, ZnO piezoelectric thin films have a preferred (002) orientation. The chips of the sensor were fabricated on the <100> silicon substrate by micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, meanwhile, the proposed sensor was packaged on the printed circuit board (PCB). The experimental results show the sensitivity of the proposed sensor is 29.48 mV/g at resonant frequency (1479.8 Hz). Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Microfluidic Line-Free Mass Sensor Based on an Antibody-Modified Mechanical Resonator
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040177
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
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Abstract
This research proposes a mass sensor based on mechanical resonance that is free from power supply lines (line-free) and incorporates both microfluidic mechanisms and label-free techniques to improve its sensitivity and reusability. The microfluidic line-free mass sensor comprises a disk-shaped mechanical resonator, a
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This research proposes a mass sensor based on mechanical resonance that is free from power supply lines (line-free) and incorporates both microfluidic mechanisms and label-free techniques to improve its sensitivity and reusability. The microfluidic line-free mass sensor comprises a disk-shaped mechanical resonator, a separate piezoelectric element used to excite vibrations in the resonator, and a microfluidic mechanism. Electrical power is used to actuate the piezoelectric element, leaving the resonator free from power lines. The microfluidic mechanism allows for rapid, repeat washings to remove impurities from a sample. The microfluidic line-free mass sensor is designed as a label-free sensor to enable high-throughput by modifying and dissociating an antibody on the resonator. The resonator was fabricated by photolithography and the diameter and thickness were 4 mm and 0.5 mm, respectively. The line-free mass sensor enabled a high Q-factor and resonance frequency of 7748 MHz and 1.402 MHz, respectively, to be achieved even in liquids, facilitating the analysis of human salivary cortisol. The line-free mass sensor could be used for repeated measurements with the microfluidic mechanism, and the resonator could be fully washed out. It was concluded that the microfluidic line-free mass sensor was suitable to analyze the concentration of a salivary hormone, cortisol, in human saliva samples, and that it provided high-throughput suitable for point-of-care testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle Mechanical Response of MEMS Inductor with Auxiliary Pillar under High-g Shock
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040176
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 7 April 2018 / Accepted: 8 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
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Abstract
Micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) suspended inductors have excellent radio-frequency (RF) performance, but poor mechanical properties. To improve their reliability, auxiliary pillars have been used. However, few studies have been carried out on the response of a suspended inductor with auxiliary pillars under high mechanical
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Micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) suspended inductors have excellent radio-frequency (RF) performance, but poor mechanical properties. To improve their reliability, auxiliary pillars have been used. However, few studies have been carried out on the response of a suspended inductor with auxiliary pillars under high mechanical shock. In this paper, a theoretical method is proposed that combines a single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) model and a method for solving statically indeterminate structures. The calculated results obtained by this proposed method were verified by finite-element analysis (ANSYS). The calculated results obtained by the proposed method were found to agree well with the results of ANSYS simulation. Finally, this method was extended to a suspended inductor with double auxiliary pillars. The method proposed in this paper provides a theoretical reference for mechanical performance evaluation and reliability optimization design for MEMS suspended inductors with auxiliary pillars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Micro-/Nano-system and Technology)
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Open AccessArticle Microfabricated Vapor Cells with Reflective Sidewalls for Chip Scale Atomic Sensors
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040175
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 1 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
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Abstract
We investigate the architecture of microfabricated vapor cells with reflective sidewalls for applications in chip scale atomic sensors. The optical configuration in operation is suitable for both one-beam and two-beam (pump & probe) schemes. In the miniaturized vapor cells, the laser beam is
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We investigate the architecture of microfabricated vapor cells with reflective sidewalls for applications in chip scale atomic sensors. The optical configuration in operation is suitable for both one-beam and two-beam (pump & probe) schemes. In the miniaturized vapor cells, the laser beam is reflected twice by the aluminum reflectors on the wet etched 54.7° sidewalls to prolong the optical length significantly, thus resulting in a return reflectance that is three times that of bare silicon sidewalls. To avoid limitations faced in the fabrication process, a simpler, more universal and less constrained fabrication process of microfabricated vapor cells for chip scale atomic sensors with uncompromised performance is implemented, which also decreases the fabrication costs and procedures. Characterization measurements show that with effective sidewall reflectors, mm3 level volume and feasible hermeticity, the elongated miniature vapor cells demonstrate a linear absorption contrast improvement by 10 times over the conventional micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) vapor cells at ~50 °C in the rubidium D1 absorption spectroscopy experiments. At the operating temperature of ~90 °C for chip scale atomic sensors, a 50% linear absorption contrast enhancement is obtained with the reflective cell architecture. This leads to a potential improvement in the clock stability and magnetometer sensitivity. Besides, the coherent population trapping spectroscopy is applied to characterize the microfabricated vacuum cells with 46.3 kHz linewidth in the through cell configuration, demonstrating the effectiveness in chip scale atomic sensors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Comprehensive Die Shear Test of Silicon Packages Bonded by Thermocompression of Al Layers with Thin Sn Capping or Insertions
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040174
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 8 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
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Abstract
Thermocompression bonding for wafer-level hermetic packaging was demonstrated at the lowest temperature of 370 to 390 °C ever reported using Al films with thin Sn capping or insertions as bonding layer. For shrinking the chip size of MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems), a
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Thermocompression bonding for wafer-level hermetic packaging was demonstrated at the lowest temperature of 370 to 390 °C ever reported using Al films with thin Sn capping or insertions as bonding layer. For shrinking the chip size of MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems), a smaller size of wafer-level packaging and MEMS–ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) integration are of great importance. Metal-based bonding under the temperature of CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) backend process is a key technology, and Al is one of the best candidates for bonding metal in terms of CMOS compatibility. In this study, after the thermocompression bonding of two substrates, the shear fracture strength of dies was measured by a bonding tester, and the shear-fractured surfaces were observed by SEM (scanning electron microscope), EDX (energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry), and a surface profiler to clarify where the shear fracture took place. We confirmed two kinds of fracture mode. One mode is Si bulk fracture mode, where the die shear strength is 41.6 to 209 MPa, proportionally depending on the area of Si fracture. The other mode is bonding interface fracture mode, where the die shear strength is 32.8 to 97.4 MPa. Regardless of the fracture modes, the minimum die shear strength is practical for wafer-level MEMS packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wafer Level Packaging of MEMS)
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Open AccessArticle A Study on Measurement Variations in Resonant Characteristics of Electrostatically Actuated MEMS Resonators
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040173
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 28 March 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
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Abstract
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) resonators require fast, accurate, and cost-effective testing for mass production. Among the different test methods, frequency domain analysis is one of the easiest and fastest. This paper presents the measurement uncertainties in electrostatically actuated MEMS resonators, using frequency domain analysis.
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Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) resonators require fast, accurate, and cost-effective testing for mass production. Among the different test methods, frequency domain analysis is one of the easiest and fastest. This paper presents the measurement uncertainties in electrostatically actuated MEMS resonators, using frequency domain analysis. The influence of the applied driving force was studied to evaluate the measurement variations in resonant characteristics, such as the natural frequency and the quality factor of the resonator. To quantify the measurement results, measurement system analysis (MSA) was performed using the analysis of variance (ANOVA) method. The results demonstrate that the resonant frequency ( f r ) is mostly affected by systematic error. However, the quality (Q) factor strongly depends on the applied driving force. To reduce the measurement variations in Q factor, experiments were carried out to study the influence of DC and/or AC driving voltages on the resonator. The results reveal that measurement uncertainties in the quality factor were high for a small electrostatic force. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Micro-/Nano-system and Technology)
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Open AccessArticle Millimeter-Wave Substrate Integrated Waveguide Using Micromachined Tungsten-Coated Through Glass Silicon Via Structures
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040172
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
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Abstract
A millimeter-wave substrate integrated waveguide (SIW) has been demonstrated using micromachined tungsten-coated through glass silicon via (TGSV) structures. Two-step deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) of silicon vias and selective tungsten coating onto them using a shadow mask are combined with glass reflow techniques
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A millimeter-wave substrate integrated waveguide (SIW) has been demonstrated using micromachined tungsten-coated through glass silicon via (TGSV) structures. Two-step deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) of silicon vias and selective tungsten coating onto them using a shadow mask are combined with glass reflow techniques to realize a glass substrate with metal-coated TGSVs for millimeter-wave applications. The proposed metal-coated TGSV structures effectively replace the metallic vias in conventional through glass via (TGV) substrates, in which an additional individual glass machining process to form micro holes in the glass substrate as well as a time-consuming metal-filling process are required. This metal-coated TGSV substrate is applied to fabricate a SIW operating at Ka-band as a test vehicle. The fabricated SIW shows an average insertion loss of 0.69 ± 0.18 dB and a return loss better than 10 dB in a frequency range from 20 GHz to 45 GHz. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wafer Level Packaging of MEMS)
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Open AccessArticle Spiral Microchannels with Trapezoidal Cross Section Fabricated by Femtosecond Laser Ablation in Glass for the Inertial Separation of Microparticles
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040171
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
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Abstract
The fabrication and testing of spiral microchannels with a trapezoidal cross section for the passive separation of microparticles is reported in this article. In contrast to previously reported fabrication methods, the fabrication of trapezoidal spiral channels in glass substrates using a femtosecond laser
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The fabrication and testing of spiral microchannels with a trapezoidal cross section for the passive separation of microparticles is reported in this article. In contrast to previously reported fabrication methods, the fabrication of trapezoidal spiral channels in glass substrates using a femtosecond laser is reported for the first time in this paper. Femtosecond laser ablation has been proposed as an accurate and fast prototyping method with the ability to create 3D features such as slanted-base channels. Moreover, the fabrication in borosilicate glass substrates can provide high optical transparency, thermal resistance, dimensional stability, and chemical inertness. Post-processing steps of the laser engraved glass substrate are also detailed in this paper including hydrogen fluoride (HF) dipping, chemical cleaning, surface activation, and thermal bonding. Optical 3D images of the fabricated chips confirmed a good fabrication accuracy and acceptable surface roughness. To evaluate the particle separation function of the microfluidic chip, 5 μm, 10 μm, and 15 μm particles were focused and recovered from the two outlets of the spiral channel. In conclusion, the new chemically inert separation chip can be utilized in biological or chemical processes where different sizes of cells or particles must be separated, i.e., red blood cells, circulating tumor cells, and technical particle suspensions. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Stretchable Tattoo-Like Heater with On-Site Temperature Feedback Control
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040170
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 8 April 2018
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Abstract
Wearable tissue heaters can play many important roles in the medical field. They may be used for heat therapy, perioperative warming and controlled transdermal drug delivery, among other applications. State-of-the-art heaters are too bulky, rigid, or difficult to control to be able to
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Wearable tissue heaters can play many important roles in the medical field. They may be used for heat therapy, perioperative warming and controlled transdermal drug delivery, among other applications. State-of-the-art heaters are too bulky, rigid, or difficult to control to be able to maintain long-term wearability and safety. Recently, there has been progress in the development of stretchable heaters that may be attached directly to the skin surface, but they often use expensive materials or processes and take significant time to fabricate. Moreover, they lack continuously active, on-site, unobstructive temperature feedback control, which is critical for accommodating the dynamic temperatures required for most medical applications. We have developed, fabricated and tested a cost-effective, large area, ultra-thin and ultra-soft tattoo-like heater that has autonomous proportional-integral-derivative (PID) temperature control. The device comprises a stretchable aluminum heater and a stretchable gold resistance temperature detector (RTD) on a soft medical tape as fabricated using the cost and time effective “cut-and-paste” method. It can be noninvasively laminated onto human skin and can follow skin deformation during flexure without imposing any constraint. We demonstrate the device’s ability to maintain a target temperature typical of medical uses over extended durations of time and to accurately adjust to a new set point in process. The cost of the device is low enough to justify disposable use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flexible Electronics: Fabrication and Ubiquitous Integration)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effect of Substrate Support on Dynamic Graphene/Metal Electrical Contacts
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040169
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
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Abstract
Recent advances in graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) material synthesis and characterization have led to their use in emerging technologies, including flexible electronics. However, a major challenge is electrical contact stability, especially under mechanical straining or dynamic loading, which can be important for
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Recent advances in graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) material synthesis and characterization have led to their use in emerging technologies, including flexible electronics. However, a major challenge is electrical contact stability, especially under mechanical straining or dynamic loading, which can be important for 2D material use in microelectromechanical systems. In this letter, we investigate the stability of dynamic electrical contacts at a graphene/metal interface using atomic force microscopy (AFM), under static conditions with variable normal loads and under sliding conditions with variable speeds. Our results demonstrate that contact resistance depends on the nature of the graphene support, specifically whether the graphene is free-standing or supported by a substrate, as well as on the contact load and sliding velocity. The results of the dynamic AFM experiments are corroborated by simulations, which show that the presence of a stiff substrate, increased load, and reduced sliding velocity lead to a more stable low-resistance contact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Based Materials for MEMS/NEMS)
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Open AccessArticle Analytical Model and Experimental Evaluation of the Micro-Scale Thermal Property Sensor for Single-Sided Measurement
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040168
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
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Abstract
We report a new analytical model of the MEMS-based thermal property sensor for samples which are difficult to handle and susceptible to damage by thermal stimulus, such as living cells. Many sensor designs had been reported for thermal property measurements, but only a
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We report a new analytical model of the MEMS-based thermal property sensor for samples which are difficult to handle and susceptible to damage by thermal stimulus, such as living cells. Many sensor designs had been reported for thermal property measurements, but only a few of them have considered the analytical model of the single-sided measurement in which a measurement sample is placed on the sensor substrate. Even in the few designs that have considered the analytical model, their applicable limits are restricted to more than 1 mm length in practical situations. Our new model considers both the sample and the sensor substrate thermal properties and is applicable to a sensor length less than 1 µm. In order to minimize the influence of the heat stimulus to the sample, the model formulates the required heat dissipating time for different sensor geometries. We propose fast and precise detection circuit architecture to realize our model, and we discuss the sensor performance for a number of different designs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Lab-on-a-Chip Technology in Japan)
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Open AccessArticle A Visualization Technique of a Unique pH Distribution around an Ion Depletion Zone in a Microchannel by Using a Dual-Excitation Ratiometric Method
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040167
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 25 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
The ion depletion zone of ion concentration polarization has a strong potential to act as an immaterial barrier, separating delicate submicron substances, including biomolecules, without causing physical damage. However, the detailed mechanisms of the barrier effect remain incompletely understood because it is difficult
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The ion depletion zone of ion concentration polarization has a strong potential to act as an immaterial barrier, separating delicate submicron substances, including biomolecules, without causing physical damage. However, the detailed mechanisms of the barrier effect remain incompletely understood because it is difficult to visualize the linked behavior of protons, cations, anions, and charged molecules in the thin ion depletion zone. In this study, pH distribution in an ion depletion zone was measured to estimate the role of proton behavior. This was done in order to use it as a tool with good controllability for biomolecule handling in the future. As a result, a unique pH peak was observed at several micrometers distance from the microchannel wall. The position of the peak appeared to be in agreement with the boundary of the ion depletion zone. From this agreement, it is expected that the pH peak has a causal connection to the barrier effect of the ion depletion zone. Full article
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