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In this paper, we present the development of active liquid aspiration and dispensing units designed for vertical, as well as lateral, liquid aspiration. The devices are based on a single-use thermally expanding polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) composite, which allows altering its surface topography by means of individually addressable integrated heaters. Devices are designed in order to create an enclosed cavity in the system, due to locally expanding the initially unstructured composite. This enables negative volume displacement and leads to the event of liquid aspiration. To enable this device functionality, two different techniques of selectively creating permanent PDMS bonds have been developed. One approach utilizes the plasma-assisted PDMS bonding technique, together with a patterned antistiction layer to form reversibly, as well as irreversibly, bonded regions. Another approach utilizes microcontact printing of PDMS curing agent, which serves as a patterned intermediate layer for adhesive bonding. Fabricated prototype devices successfully demonstrated the aspiration and release of liquid volumes ranging from 28 to 815 nL. The devices are entirely fabricated from low-cost materials, using wafer-level processes only and do not require external means for liquid actuation.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2008