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24 April 2008 Vacuum isostatic micro molding of microfluidic structures into polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) materials
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Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is an ideal material for use in microfluidic applications, such as industrial inkjet and biomedical analysis devices. PTFE has outstanding physical properties; such as chemical inertness and resistance to chemical corrosion, even when exposed to a strong acid, alkali and oxidants. Its properties provide for superior electrical insulation and thermal stability, which is not affected by wide ranges in temperature and frequency. Its non-absorption of moisture makes it a perfect material for consideration in micro-fluidic devices used in chemical analysis, fluidic photonic sensors and biomedical diagnostics. This paper presents an overview of a unique fabrication method that incorporates a variety of elements to establish a processing technique that can form micro channels, complex filter arrays and reflective micro mirror structures into PTFE materials for such applications. Using a modified isostatic compression molding process, this new technique incorporates the addition of a vacuum to assist in the reliable molding of micron structures and further densification of the fused or semi-fused PTFE. Various micro-structured electroformed and micro-machined shims are demonstrated to form small microstructures into the surface of the PTFE material. The combination of the vacuum and the electroformed shim within the molding process noticeably increases the precision, reproducibility and resolution of microstructures that can be realized. The paper will describe the molding hardware involved, process parameters and the resulting microfluidic channels and complex filter and capillary structures formed. Function testing and metrology of the micro-structure geometry formed on each sample will be compared to the original design mandrel geometry.
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Todd E. Lizotte "Vacuum isostatic micro molding of microfluidic structures into polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) materials", Proc. SPIE 6993, MEMS, MOEMS, and Micromachining III, 69930C (24 April 2008);

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