A Simple Low-Temperature Glass Bonding Process with Surface Activation by Oxygen Plasma for Micro/Nanofluidic Devices

Micromachines (Basel). 2020 Aug 25;11(9):804. doi: 10.3390/mi11090804.


The bonding of glass substrates is necessary when constructing micro/nanofluidic devices for sealing micro- and nanochannels. Recently, a low-temperature glass bonding method utilizing surface activation with plasma was developed to realize micro/nanofluidic devices for various applications, but it still has issues for general use. Here, we propose a simple process of low-temperature glass bonding utilizing typical facilities available in clean rooms and applied it to the fabrication of micro/nanofluidic devices made of different glasses. In the process, the substrate surface was activated with oxygen plasma, and the glass substrates were placed in contact in a class ISO 5 clean room. The pre-bonded substrates were heated for annealing. We found an optimal concentration of oxygen plasma and achieved a bonding energy of 0.33-0.48 J/m2 in fused-silica/fused-silica glass bonding. The process was applied to the bonding of fused-silica glass and borosilicate glass, which is generally used in optical microscopy, and revealed higher bonding energy than fused-silica/fused-silica glass bonding. An annealing temperature lower than 200 °C was necessary to avoid crack generation by thermal stress due to the different thermal properties of the glasses. A fabricated micro/nanofluidic device exhibited a pressure resistance higher than 600 kPa. This work will contribute to the advancement of micro/nanofluidics.

Keywords: bonding; fabrication; glass; microfluidics; nanofluidics.