CHEMISTRY: Microfluidics for Organics

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Science  20 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5661, pp. 1106c
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5661.1106c

Microfluidics devices have traditionally been fabricated from silicon and glass, using photolithography and etching techniques, or from poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), using soft lithography techniques. Both of these methods have their limitations: The former requires clean room facilities and is labor-intensive, and it is difficult to engineer components that require flexibility; PDMS is flexible, but can swell in various organic solvents.

Rolland et al. show that the PDMS can be replaced with perfluoropolyethers (PFPEs), which exhibit low surface energy, low modulus, high gas permeability, and low toxicity, but also possess chemical resistivity similar to that of Teflon. Fabrication of devices was accomplished by partially curing layers to give them some rigidity, and fully curing after repositioning so that they properly fuse together. Fully cured PDMS and PFPE materials had similar elastic behavior at room temperature and also similar tensile moduli. The PFPE material was resistant to toluene and dichloromethane, which caused the PDMS channels to swell and plug shut. — MSL

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/ja031657y (2004).

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