A generic method for the rapid, reproducible, and robust bonding of microfluidic chips fabricated from plastics has been developed and optimized. One of the bonding surfaces is exposed to solvent vapor prior to bringing the mating parts into contact and applying a load. Nanoindentation measurements performed by atomic force microscopy show that a reversible material softening occurs upon exposure to solvent vapor. Subsequent exposure of the bonded chip to UV light then strengthens the bond between mating parts and increases the burst pressure by 50% due to partial cross-linking and chain scission reactions as measured by size exclusion chromatography-multiangle light scattering (SEC-MALS). Performing all steps of this procedure at room temperature eliminates channel distortion observed during thermal bonding and affords channels with highly uniform cross-sectional dimensions. Our technique enables chips resistant to pressures as high as 34.6 MPa.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry