Prototype Fabrication

Prototype Fabrication

In recent years, the widespread application of microfluidic technology in various fields has been accelerated, such as sequencing, personalized medicine, drug discovery, gene therapy, wearable devices, and point-of-care testing. Many start-up companies with outstanding microfluidic intellectual property rights are rapidly emerging. Alfa Chemistry has seen an upsurge in industry activity to bring these microfluidic solutions to the market.

Prototype Fabrication Fig 1. Schematic showing the diverse applications of soft tubular microfluidics (STmF) in various domains. (Wang X, et al. 2017)

We understand that it is important for our customers to quickly and efficiently manufacture their microfluidic designs so that they can proceed to the next iteration. For this reason, Alfa Chemistry provides professional prototyping services to fabricate your microfluidic devices. The turnover rate of our prototypes is usually very fast.

What is Microfluidic Prototyping?

Prototyping microfluidics means making a physical model of the microfluidic concept composed of microscopic features. These microscopic features include, for example, channels, wells, mixers, chambers, walls, columns, valves, etc.

Why Choose Our Microfluidic Prototype Service?

The benefits of our services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Functional testing: Microfluidic chips need to be prototyped to test their geometry to provide specific functions.
  • Evaluate microfluidics: Prototypes are often needed to observe how fluids travel through or around different microfeatures. Or, prototypes are needed to analyze how the width or depth of features affects the process. Also, prototyping is critical to determining what is the best microfluidic channel design or flow rate.
  • Selection of microfluidic chip materials: To help select materials, a prototype is established and the applicability of candidate materials is studied.
  • Surface characterization of microfluidic devices: The design function may be affected by the surface characteristics, so the surface needs to be prototyped and tested.
  • Verify the performance of the microchip environment: In the microfluidic chip test, many factors can cause poor test results, such as flow conditions, size effects, equipment contamination, protein absorption, retained dead cells, and so on. Therefore, it is necessary to prototype the device to study the measurement and performance of the chip in real life.
  • Find out consequences of manufacturing limitations: Prototypes are also made to assess manufacturing limitations. For example, what is the relationship between maximum pressure a device can tolerate to its features' geometry?

Our Good Strategy for Microfluidic Prototyping

According to our experience, the most effective strategy to save time and money is to first prototype the design at the component level, and then add components to create a more advanced microfluidic system model.

The design parameters of each component can be independently optimized using its prototype. Once you have fine-tuned all the components, you can gradually connect them together.

Prototyping Techniques:

  • Micro-milling
  • Hot embossing
  • PDMS soft lithography
  • RIE/DRIE Etching

Prototyping Lead Time:

2 days - 4 weeks

Prototype Fabrication

Reference

  • Wang X, et al. (2017). "Soft Tubular Microfluidics for 2D and 3D Applications." PNAS. 114(40): 10590-10595.

Our products and services are for research use only.

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