Photolithography-free laser-patterned HF acid-resistant chromium-polyimide mask for rapid fabrication of microfluidic systems in glass

Konstantin O. Zamuruyev, Yuriy Zrodnikov, Cristina E Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Excellent chemical and physical properties of glass, over a range of operating conditions, make it a preferred material for chemical detection systems in analytical chemistry, biology, and the environmental sciences. However, it is often compromised with SU8, PDMS, or Parylene materials due to the sophisticated mask preparation requirements for wet etching of glass. Here, we report our efforts toward developing a photolithography-free laser-patterned hydrofluoric acid-resistant chromium-polyimide tape mask for rapid prototyping of microfluidic systems in glass. The patterns are defined in masking layer with a diode-pumped solid-state laser. Minimum feature size is limited to the diameter of the laser beam, 30 μm; minimum spacing between features is limited by the thermal shrinkage and adhesive contact of the polyimide tape to 40 μm. The patterned glass substrates are etched in 49% hydrofluoric acid at ambient temperature with soft agitation (in time increments, up to 60 min duration). In spite of the simplicity, our method demonstrates comparable results to the other current more sophisticated masking methods in terms of the etched depth (up to 300 μm in borosilicate glass), feature under etch ratio in isotropic etch (∼1.36), and low mask hole density. The method demonstrates high yield and reliability. To our knowledge, this method is the first proposed technique for rapid prototyping of microfluidic systems in glass with such high performance parameters. The proposed method of fabrication can potentially be implemented in research institutions without access to a standard clean-room facility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015010
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • glass microfabrication
  • glass wet etching
  • HF acid resistant mask
  • microfluidics in glass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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