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Engineering Students Fabricate Smooth PDMS Microfluidic Channels by Applying Novel Coating To 3D Printed Molds

Authors Zachary Cetinic (left), Martin Villegas (middle) and Amid Shakeri (right) of IIDR’s Dr. Tohid Didar’s lab.

Photolithography is a widely used technology, commonly for the fabrication of 3D structures in the microscale. Although this technology has been the conventional method for the fabrication of master molds used in soft lithography casting, it is an expensive and time-consuming process. A cheaper solution is the prototyping of microfluidic molds using 3D printer technology – however, the biggest drawback resulting from 3D printed materials fabrication is their rough topology and surface imperfections.

In a recent publication in ScienceDirect, engineering students Martin Villegas, Zachary Cetinic ‎and Amid Shakeri of IIDR’s Dr. Tohid Didar’s lab address this issue. The team introduces an omniphobic lubricant coating capable of repelling liquid polymers to the 3D printed molds, creating a conformal layer that results in a smooth interface. This interface subsequently transcribes onto the polymeric microfluidic devices, resulting in a 10-fold reduction in surface roughness on the obtained devices – an attribute of great importance for studies where shear rate is investigated.

Read the publication in ScienceDirect.

Learn more about Dr. Tohid Didar and his lab at