The ever-increasing complexity of the fabrication process of Point-of-care (POC) devices, due to high demand of functional versatility, compact size and ease-of-use, emphasizes the need of multifunctional materials that can be used to simplify this process. Polymers, currently in use for the fabrication of the often needed microfluidic channels, have limitations in terms of their physicochemical properties. Therefore, the use of a multipurpose biocompatible material with better resistance to the chemical, thermal and electrical environment, along with capability of forming closed channel microfluidics is inevitable. This paper demonstrates a novel technique of fabricating microfluidic devices using polyimide (PI) which fulfills the aforementioned properties criteria. A fabrication process to pattern microfluidic channels, using partially cured PI, has been developed by using a dry etching method. The etching parameters are optimized and compared to those used for fully cured PI. Moreover, the formation of closed microfluidic channel on wafer level by bonding two partially cured PI layers or a partially cured PI to glass with high bond strength has been demonstrated. The reproducibility in uniformity of PI is also compared to the most commonly used SU8 polymer, which is a near UV sensitive epoxy resin. The potential applications of PI processing are POC and biosensor devices integrated with microelectronics.
Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 2015, Vol 25, Issue 3
Closed channel microfluidics; Polyimide process; Polyimide to polyimide bonding