Photopolymerizations for Micro- and Nanofluidics


Brian Hutchison and Laurie Locascio

Analytical Chemistry Division, CSTL

Polymers provide a number of advantages over traditional microfabricated materials (e.g., silicon or glass) for microfluidic applications.  Although photopolymerization technology is not commonly applied, it offers a particularly facile and robust approach to forming micro- or nanofluidic polymer devices and components.  The primary advantages of fabricating microfluidic components via photopolymerizations include the ability to (1) transform liquid monomers to micropatterned, insoluble solid films in a single step, and (2) tune the chemical and physical properties of the patterned films by rational formulation of monomer mixtures.  Furthermore, photopolymerization offers a means to integrate and/or rapidly stabilize self-assembling block copolymers, which may be used as nanofluidic components within microfluidic units.

Examples of photopolymerizations for micro- and nanofluidics, presented in this contribution, include: (1) fabrication of microfluidic devices by sequential photopolymerization of multiple layers,1 with a specific focus on using monomer formulations for films with high resistance to organic solvents, (2) photoinitiated crosslinking of self-assembled vesicles and nanotubes formed from amphiphilic diblock copolymers, and (3) new approaches to constructing nanofluidic channels in photopolymers by high resolution lithography and self assembly of block copolymers.  The general methodology, advantages, and limitations for construction of multilayer microfluidic devices by direct photopolymerization, and images of devices fabricated by this method will be presented.  Additionally, a fluorinated monomer formulation that exhibits high non-polar solvent resistance will be described.  Finally, a novel approach to photoinitiated crosslinking of submicron vesicular tubes, and a proposed method for forming tunable size nanochannels in a photopolymer resin will be discussed.  In addition to more comprehensive results from microfluidics fabrication, new experimental procedures and preliminary results related to photopolymerized nanofluidic channels will be presented.


[1] Hutchison, et al., Lab on a Chip, 2004, 4 (6) 658-662.



Name: J. Brian Hutchison

Mentor: Laurie Locascio

Division: 839 (Analytical Chemistry)

Laboratory: CSTL

Bldg. / Room: 227 / A365

Mail Stop: 8394

Telephone: 301-975-3187

FAX: 301-977-0587


Sigma Xi member: No

Category: Chemistry