Rapid Prototyping of Microfluidics

Microscopic features in glass, sapphire and other transparent materials are easily achieved with picosecond micromachining. Material removal rates in glass can be as vary from ~0.1 to >1 mm^3/min*W for optimized processes. The microfluidic mixer structure seen here is milled from one side. The fluid can travel from one 20 um diameter entrance hole, along the branches and into the mixing chamber. Burrs are not allowed in micro fluidic microstructures as they cause fluid flow obstruction. In this design, A second glass slide is required to seal the structure. In such design, the second glass slide with a different structure can be stacked on top of this first slide to create a complex 3 dimension, multilayer circuit of mixing chamber. Multilayer mixing chamber with complex stacking structure can easily and inexpensively fabricated since today’s laser technology and stage control can offer micrometer precision machining at very low cost. The microfluidic circuit design can be rapidly modified or scaled via computer programming of the motorized laser machining station. And since picoseconds lasers are universal cutting tools, with minimal adjustment to laser power, the same design can be used to fabricate other materials such as sapphire and Si.