3D printed tooling for injection molded microfluidics

Convery, N., Samardzhieva, I., Stormonth-Darling, J. M. , Harrison, S., Sullivan, G. J. and Gadegaard, N. (2021) 3D printed tooling for injection molded microfluidics. Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, 306(11), 2100464. (doi: 10.1002/mame.202100464)

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Microfluidics have been used for several decades to conduct a wide range of research in chemistry and the life sciences. The reduced dimensions of these devices give them advantages over classical analysis techniques such as increased sensitivity, shorter analysis times, and lower reagent consumption. However, current manufacturing processes for microfluidic chips either limit them to materials with unwanted properties, or are not cost-effective for rapid-prototyping approaches. Here the authors show that inlays for injection moulding can be 3D printed, thus reducing the skills, cost, and time required for tool fabrication. They demonstrate the importance of orientation of the part during 3D printing so that features as small as 100 × 200 µm can be printed. They also demonstrate that the 3D printed inlay is durable enough to fabricate at least 500 parts. Furthermore, devices can be designed, manufactured, and tested within one working day. Finally, as demonstrators they design and mould a microfluidic chip to house a plasmonic biosensor as well as a device to house liver organoids showing how such chips can be used in organ-on-a-chip applications. This new fabrication technique bridges the gap between small production and industrial scale manufacturing, while making microfluidics cheaper, and more widely accessible.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Samardzhieva, Iliyana and Stormonth-Darling, Mr John and Convery, Mr Neil and Gadegaard, Professor Nikolaj
Authors: Convery, N., Samardzhieva, I., Stormonth-Darling, J. M., Harrison, S., Sullivan, G. J., and Gadegaard, N.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Macromolecular Materials and Engineering
ISSN (Online):1439-2054
Published Online:23 September 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Macromolecular Materials and Engineering 306(11): 2100464
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172025FAKIR: Focal Adhesion Kinetics In nanosurface RecognitionNikolaj GadegaardEuropean Research Council (ERC)648892ENG - Biomedical Engineering
172865EPSRC DTP 16/17 and 17/18Mary Beth KneafseyEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/N509668/1Research and Innovation Services