Faculty Mentor

Kathryn Shirk

Subject Area

Engineering, Physics


Microfluidics devices have high importance in fields such as bioanalysis because these devices have the ability to manipulate small volumes of fluid, typically ranging from microliters to picoliters. Small samples of fluids can be quickly and easily tested using reactions performed with complex microfluidic devices. Many methods have been previously developed to create these devices, including traditional nano- lithography techniques borrowed from the field of microelectronics. However, these traditional techniques are cost-prohibitive for many small-scale laboratories. This research explores a relatively low-cost technique using a 3D printed master, which is used as a template for the fabrication of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic devices. The masters are designed using computer aided design (CAD) software and can be printed and modified relatively quickly. We have developed a protocol for creating simple microfluidic devices using a 3D printer and PDMS adhered to glass. We have also explored methods to overcome the size-limits of the 3D-printed master templates by using shrinkable polymers and modified channel geometries to create a flow-focusing channel. This relatively simple and lower-cost technique can now be scaled to more complicated device designs and applications.


microfluidic, 3D printer, rapid prototype