One-Step Fabrication of Microchannels with Integrated Three Dimensional Features by Hot Intrusion Embossing

Sensors (Basel). 2016 Nov 29;16(12):2023. doi: 10.3390/s16122023.


We build on the concept of hot intrusion embossing to develop a one-step fabrication method for thermoplastic microfluidic channels containing integrated three-dimensional features. This was accomplished with simple, rapid-to-fabricate imprint templates containing microcavities that locally control the intrusion of heated thermoplastic based on their cross-sectional geometries. The use of circular, rectangular and triangular cavity geometries was demonstrated for the purposes of forming posts, multi-focal length microlense arrays, walls, steps, tapered features and three-dimensional serpentine microchannels. Process variables, such as temperature and pressure, controlled feature dimensions without affecting the overall microchannel geometry. The approach was demonstrated for polycarbonate, cycloolefin copolymer and polystyrene, but in principle is applicable to any thermoplastic. The approach is a step forward towards rapid fabrication of complex, robust, microfluidic platforms with integrated multi-functional elements.

Keywords: hot embossing; intrusion embossing; microfabrication; microfluidics; thermoplastic.