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Surface Micromachined Microfluidics: Example Microsystems, Challenges and Opportunities

[+] Author Affiliations
Paul Galambos, Conrad James

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

Paper No. IPACK2005-73491, pp. 2023-2032; 10 pages
  • ASME 2005 Pacific Rim Technical Conference and Exhibition on Integration and Packaging of MEMS, NEMS, and Electronic Systems collocated with the ASME 2005 Heat Transfer Summer Conference
  • Advances in Electronic Packaging, Parts A, B, and C
  • San Francisco, California, USA, July 17–22, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division and Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4200-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3762-9
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


A variety of fabrication techniques have been used to make microfluidic microsystems: bulk etching in silicon and glass, plastic molding and machining, and PDMS (silicone) casting. Surprisingly the most widely used method of integrated circuit (IC) fabrication (surface micromachining — SMM) has not been extensively utilized in microfluidics despite its wide use in MEMS. There are economic reasons that SMM is not often used in microfluidics; high infrastructure and start-up costs and relatively long fabrication times: and there are technical reasons; packaging difficulties, dominance of surface forces, and fluid volume scaling issues. However, there are also important technical and economic advantages for SMM microfluidics relating to large-scale batch, no-assembly fabrication, and intimate integration of mechanical, electrical, microfluidic, and nano-scale sub-systems on one chip. In our work at Sandia National Laboratories MDL (Microelectronics Development Lab) we have built on the existing MEMS SMM infrastructure to produce a variety of microfluidic microsystems. These example microsystems illustrate the challenges and opportunities associated with SMM microfluidics. In this paper we briefly discuss two SMM microfluidic microsystems (made in the SUMMiT™ and SwIFT™ processes — www.mdl.sandia.gov/micromachine ) in terms of technical challenges and unique SMM microfluidics opportunities. The two example microsystems are a DEP (dielectrophoretic) trap, and a drop ejector patterning system.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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