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Micromachines 2018, 9(8), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9080409

Rapid Laser Manufacturing of Microfluidic Devices from Glass Substrates

1
Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS), Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
2
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glassy Materials Based Microdevices)
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Abstract

Conventional manufacturing of microfluidic devices from glass substrates is a complex, multi-step process that involves different fabrication techniques and tools. Hence, it is time-consuming and expensive, in particular for the prototyping of microfluidic devices in low quantities. This article describes a laser-based process that enables the rapid manufacturing of enclosed micro-structures by laser micromachining and microwelding of two 1.1-mm-thick borosilicate glass plates. The fabrication process was carried out only with a picosecond laser (Trumpf TruMicro 5×50) that was used for: (a) the generation of microfluidic patterns on glass, (b) the drilling of inlet/outlet ports into the material, and (c) the bonding of two glass plates together in order to enclose the laser-generated microstructures. Using this manufacturing approach, a fully-functional microfluidic device can be fabricated in less than two hours. Initial fluid flow experiments proved that the laser-generated microstructures are completely sealed; thus, they show a potential use in many industrial and scientific areas. This includes geological and petroleum engineering research, where such microfluidic devices can be used to investigate single-phase and multi-phase flow of various fluids (such as brine, oil, and CO2) in porous media. View Full-Text
Keywords: microfluidic devices; laser materials processing; ultrafast laser micromachining; ultrafast laser welding; enclosed microstructures; glass; porous media; fluid displacement microfluidic devices; laser materials processing; ultrafast laser micromachining; ultrafast laser welding; enclosed microstructures; glass; porous media; fluid displacement
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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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Wlodarczyk, K.L.; Carter, R.M.; Jahanbakhsh, A.; Lopes, A.A.; Mackenzie, M.D.; Maier, R.R.J.; Hand, D.P.; Maroto-Valer, M.M. Rapid Laser Manufacturing of Microfluidic Devices from Glass Substrates. Micromachines 2018, 9, 409.

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