Polymer microchannels can be commonly processed using many non-lithographic methods for reducing the manufacturing cost and steps. In this research, an inexpensive and high-precision thermal engraving technology is developed and achieved to machine polymer microchannels ranging from tens to hundreds of micrometers. This paper presents the design of a thermal engraving device, the processing method and the experimental procedure. Thermal engraving microscribers can fabricate microchannels with a width less than 100 μm. Furthermore, the effects of velocity and temperature on the roughness of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) microchannels are also discussed. Finally, a smooth microchannel with these parameters optimally coordinated is achieved. Meanwhile, the contact angle (CA) and the electro-osmotic flow (EOF) of microchannels fabricated by this technology are also measured. The experimental results show that this method of fabrication has the advantages of low cost, high efficiency and small polymer microchannel size compared with several non-lithographic methods. This method of fabrication would be attractive for labs lacking extremely clean rooms and expensive photolithography apparatuses.
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