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Biomicrofluidics. 2011 Dec;5(4):46505-465059. doi: 10.1063/1.3670368. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Three-dimensional fit-to-flow microfluidic assembly.

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  • 1Micro-Nano Innovations (MiNI) Laboratory, Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Three-dimensional microfluidics holds great promise for large-scale integration of versatile, digitalized, and multitasking fluidic manipulations for biological and clinical applications. Successful translation of microfluidic toolsets to these purposes faces persistent technical challenges, such as reliable system-level packaging, device assembly and alignment, and world-to-chip interface. In this paper, we extended our previously established fit-to-flow (F2F) world-to-chip interconnection scheme to a complete system-level assembly strategy that addresses the three-dimensional microfluidic integration on demand. The modular F2F assembly consists of an interfacial chip, pluggable alignment modules, and multiple monolithic layers of microfluidic channels, through which convoluted three-dimensional microfluidic networks can be easily assembled and readily sealed with the capability of reconfigurable fluid flow. The monolithic laser-micromachining process simplifies and standardizes the fabrication of single-layer pluggable polymeric modules, which can be mass-produced as the renowned Lego(®) building blocks. In addition, interlocking features are implemented between the plug-and-play microfluidic chips and the complementary alignment modules through the F2F assembly, resulting in facile and secure alignment with average misalignment of 45 μm. Importantly, the 3D multilayer microfluidic assembly has a comparable sealing performance as the conventional single-layer devices, providing an average leakage pressure of 38.47 kPa. The modular reconfigurability of the system-level reversible packaging concept has been demonstrated by re-routing microfluidic flows through interchangeable modular microchannel layers.

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