Polymer microfluidics: Simple, low-cost fabrication process bridging academic lab research to commercialized production

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Using polymer materials to fabricate microfluidic devices provides simple, cost effective, and disposal advantages for both lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices and micro total analysis systems (μTAS). Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer and thermoplastics are the two major polymer materials used in microfluidics. The fabrication of PDMS and thermoplastic microfluidic device can be categorized as front-end polymer microchannel fabrication and post-end microfluidic bonding procedures, respectively. PDMS and thermoplastic materials each have unique advantages and their use is indispensable in polymer microfluidics. Therefore, the proper selection of polymer microfabrication is necessary for the successful application of microfluidics. In this paper, we give a short overview of polymermicrofabricationmethods formicrofluidics and discuss current challenges and future opportunities for research in polymer microfluidics fabrication. We summarize standard approaches, as well as state-of-art polymer microfluidic fabrication methods. Currently, the polymer microfluidic device is at the stage of technology transition fromresearch labs to commercial production. Thus, critical consideration is also required with respect to the commercialization aspects of fabricating polymer microfluidics. This article provides easy-to-understand illustrations and targets to assist the research community in selecting proper polymer microfabrication strategies in microfluidics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number225
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2016


  • Polydimethylsiloxane
  • Polymer microfabrication
  • Polymer microfluidics
  • Thermoplastics


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