Epigem provides customers with a contract manufacturing service for polymer microfluidic devices. The manufacturing process used governs the characteristics of the microfluidic chips available. The flexibility of the manufacturing process enables a very broad range of devices to be realised. A brief overview of the physical characteristics is given here:
Fluence microfluidic chips take the form of a microchannel layout sandwiched between two polymer substrates, with two or more access ports through one or both sides of the device.
Microfluidic chips are available in a wide range of sizes, from less than 30x30mm up to a maximum of 260x180mm. Depending on design, material and mechanical strength requirements, single chip thickness can range from less than 1mm up to 6mm.
Microchannel dimensions are application specific and depend on fluid properties, applied pressure, required flow rate, and whether the chip forms part of a larger fluid network. For most applications, microfluidic chips are manufactured with microchannel depths of 50µm, 100µm or 150µm. For special applications however, Fluence offers thicker or thinner microchannel depths by agreement. Whilst there is no limitation on maximum microchannel width (other than overall device dimensions), the minimum width is 20µm. The maximum depth to width aspect ratio is 2:1.
Materials of Construction
As a standard, we offer two grades of microfluidic chip – A and B. The wetted materials of construction for Grade A are PMMA (Polymethylmethacrylate) and aromatic epoxy. The wetted materials of construction for Grade B are PEEK (Polyaryletherketone) and aromatic epoxy. In addition to the above standard options, tailor-made solutions are available by selecting from a range of polymer materials, where the choice depends on the application. Requirements such as optical properties, chemical resistivity, and thermal stability generally dictate the right combination of materials.
Microfluidic chips can
be supplied with modified surface chemistries. Hydrophobic or Hydrophilic properties are offered with known surface free energies.
Microfluidic Connections and Ports
The connection options can all be integrated into the design of the microfluidic chips. Design activities take into account the number and proximity of microchannels whilst considering which connection option provides the best practical solution. The Fluence Interconnection System facilitates the highest possible density of fluid connections.
Under clean room conditions, our flexible manufacturing process provides prototyping capability along with low volume custom microfluidic chip production, and extends towards high volume manufacture of microfluidic products and devices.