3D Printed Integrated Microfluidic Circuitry [BPN774]
In chemical and biological fields, the advent of high-functioning integrated micro/nanofluidic circuits (IFCs) could have similar ramifications; however, current IFCs (as well as the majority of microfluidic systems and microscale mechano-biological platforms) suffer from a number of critical limitations associated with current micro/nanomachining processes. Specifically, microdevices for chemistry and biology are primarily constructed by means of monolithic “top-down” microfabrication methods, such as soft lithography. Such fabrication procedures are time, cost, and labor-intensive, and are functionally limited because monolithic layers inherently lack the versatility of 3D construction methods, thereby rendering the creation of relatively primitive structures, such as basic mechanical coil springs, impossible to achieve using standard soft lithography-based micromolding techniques. To overcome these limitations, we propose a paradigm shift in the area of biochemical microdevice manufacturing. For this project, we use “bottom-up” micro/nanoscale 3D printing technologies to create a new generation of 3D micro/nanodevices and IFCs for chemistry and biology. By using 3D printing techniques, we have achieved increasingly complex geometries (e.g., “Cal”-shaped microchannels, fluidic flow control, moving valves, etc.). Our “bottom- up” methodology could set a significant precedent, leading to a proliferation of 3D printed micro/nanoscale processors for basic scientific research and commercial applications throughout chemical and biological fields.