Surface microfluidics can be of potential use in a variety of emerging applications, including biological and chemical analysis, cellular detection and manipulation, high-throughput pharmaceutical screening, and etc. In comparison with the conventional closed-channel microfluidic system, surface microfluidics shows the distinct advantages of simple construction, direct surface access, no cavitation or interphase obstruction, clear optical path, easy fluidic packaging, and device reusability. In this article, we first present surface microfluidic networks microfabricated by a single-step lithographic process using a novel superhydrophobic photosensitive nanocomposite formula. The photopatternable superhydrophobic nanocomposite (PSN) incorporates PTFE nanoparticles into a SU-8 matrix, in which superhydrophobicity (contact angle of above 160°) is primarily contributed by the extremely low chemical energy and nano-topology of PTFE nanoparticles, while the SU-8 polymer matrix offers photopatternability (lithographic resolution of 10 μm) and substrate adhesion. Moreover, an additive intermediate layer with hydrophilic sidewall considerably reduces flow resistance while improving the substrate adhesion, as a crucial improvement from the previous surface flow configuration. Furthermore, self-propelled microfluidic networks driven by surface tension-induced pressure gradient have been fabricated and characterized to demonstrate the applicability of the novel nanocomposite fabrication approach.
- Surface microfluidics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Materials Chemistry
- Condensed Matter Physics