Optimization of Microfluidic Chip Fabrication via Femtosecond Laser Ablation

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Aycock, Kenneth
microfluidics; ablation; femtosecond laser; rapid prototyping; Bioimaging and Biomedical Optics; Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation; Electro-Mechanical Systems
thesis / dissertation description
Microfluidic devices have become staple tools in biomedical research and have a promising future as low cost, point-of-care (POC) diagnostic devices. Despite the advancements in microfluidic device technology, the manipulation and fabrication of these systems can be tedious and expensive. Repeatable techniques in which computer-aided designs are translated into microfluidic systems in a matter of minutes are highly desirable both for researchers and manufacturers. Laser ablation of tape substrates has shown promise in producing cost-effective, rapidly manipulable devices, but the work done thus far has utilized continuous wave lasers that perform suboptimally due to the relatively short wavelengths used and the introduction of joule heating. There is a well-established need for a cost-effective rapid prototyping method for these devices in biomedical research and for clinical applications. Thus, the goal of this project was to fabricate microfluidic devices with drastically increased resolution by using a pulsed femtosecond laser operating at wavelengths in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared spectra. Thus far, we have successfully developed a laser ablation platform and demonstrated effective ablation of substrates with a consistent resolution as high as 80 μm. However, we have not discovered a method to remove the soot deposition created in the ablation process. Multiple avenues were explored for addressing this issue but none were fruitful.