Digital Light Processing Methods for Rapid Fabrication of Micro-Fluidic Devices in an Out-of-Cleanroom Environment
Departments: Mechanical Engineering Advisor: Yaling Liu
This research investigated the feasibility of creating microfluidic devices in an out-of-cleanroom environment using digital light processing technology. A digital light processing device uses an array of microscopic mirrors which are actuated electromechanically to selectively block beams of light. The digital micromirror device (DMD) can be controlled by a computer to create a static or moving pattern; the technology is commonly used in cinema and office projectors. This study aims to determine whether or not it is possible to use a DMD to make masks for ultraviolet curing of resins to create molds for the creation of microfluidic devices. Success in this endeavor would drastically reduce the difficulty and expense of fabricating microfluidic devices and could prove immensely helpful in research and industry. The work presented here falls into three categories; the fabrication and testing of experimental apparatuses using commercial DMD projectors; the development of codes in MATLAB to generate images to be used as masks, and the analysis of simulated and experimental curing patterns in ultraviolet photoresins. Overall, findings in all three areas of research suggest that DMD techniques are a feasible way of producing microfluidic devices; simple codes are capable of generating mask images to yield profiles of any cross section (specifically, circular and sinusoidal channels were created). These images can then be used to effectively cure photo-sensitive resins with a degree of fidelity high enough to allow them to be used as molds for the creation of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic devices.
About Geoffrey Andrews:
Geoffrey Andrews is a senior in his last semester at Lehigh University. He is studying mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering and hopes to pursue his PhD researching hypersonic flight vehicles and technologies. Born in Massachusetts, Geoffrey grew up in a delightfully unconventional family in northern New Jersey, where he learned to love science, flying, and learning. He would like to thank Dr. Yaling Liu, Ran He, and the rest of the Bionanomechanics lab for their support, friendship, and free food, and his family for their unfaltering encouragement in all of his endeavors.