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Rapid, low-cost patterning of microstructures in polydimethylsiloxane via mask-less laser-machining

C.L.Sones, I.N.Katis, B.Mills, M.Feinäugle, A.Mosayyebi, J.Butement, R.W.Eason


Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), due to its unique characteristics including biocompatibility, elasticity (which allows it to be flexibly moulded into the desired shape), optical transparency, and its low-cost provides a valuable advantage as a building material for the fabrication of microfluidics-based lab-on-chip devices and micro-contact printing [1, 2] moulds that allow parallel deposition of various materials on a target surface. A range of methodologies such as wet chemical etching, dry plasma etching, decal transfer microlithography, and bond-detach method have been utilised for creating patterns in PDMS. However, one of the most commonly used approaches for the prototyping of PDMS for such applications is soft-lithography. This involves the use of a clean-room based UV-lithography step that uses expensive custom-designed masks for the fabrication of a master-mould with structures that are then duplicated via stamping of this master to produce a secondary-mould in PDMS, which is then used for micro-contact printing applications. Even though this lithographic procedure can routinely produce high-resolution micron-scale structures, the procedure is time-consuming and expensive. Instead, for the production of the master, we propose as a cheap alternative to expensive UV-lithography, a mask-less laser-based procedure which does not rely on cleanroom access. Similar to the soft-lithographic procedure, the process is two-step and allows the creation of high-quality sub-micron to millimetre-scale features, in a wide range of materials, with the added advantage of being able to fabricate complex and differently-shaped structures adjacent to each other, in either a sequential or a single-step. This laser-based method (Fig.1) has been used to create two-dimensional surface relief patterns in a master-mould for replication into PDMS and subsequent contact-printing.

CLEO/Europe-IQEC 2013 Munich 12-16 May (2013) (Poster)

doi: 10.1109/CLEOE-IQEC.2013.6801592

Southampton ePrint id: 367789


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Copyright University of Southampton 2006