Design and Development of a Three-Dimensionally Printed Microscope Mask Alignment Adapter for the Fabrication of Multilayer Microfluidic Devices

Celine R. Garcia, Zhenya Ding, Hilario C. Garza, Wei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This project aims to develop an easy-to-use and cost-effective platform for the fabrication of precise, multilayer microfluidic devices, which typically can only be achieved using costly equipment in a clean room setting. The key part of the platform is a three dimensionally (3D) printed microscope mask alignment adapter (MMAA) compatible with regular optical microscopes and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure systems. The overall process of creating the device has been vastly simplified because of the work done to optimize the device design. The process entails finding the proper dimensions for the equipment available in the laboratory and 3D-printing the MMAA with the optimized specifications. Experimental results show that the optimized MMAA designed and manufactured by 3D printing performs well with a common microscope and light exposure system. Using a master mold prepared by the 3D-printed MMAA, the resulting microfluidic devices with multilayered structures contain alignment errors of <10 µm, which is sufficient for common microchips. Although human error through transportation of the device to the UV light exposure system can cause larger fabrication errors, the minimal errors achieved in this study are attainable with practice and care. Furthermore, the MMAA can be customized to fit any microscope and UV exposure system by making changes to the modeling file in the 3D printing system. This project provides smaller laboratories with a useful research tool as it only requires the use of equipment that is typically already available to laboratories that produce and use microfluidic devices. The following detailed protocol outlines the design and 3D printing process for the MMAA. In addition, the steps for procuring a multilayer master mold using the MMAA and producing poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microfluidic chips is also described herein.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number167
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 25 2021

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