Plasticizer-assisted bonding of poly(methyl methacrylate) microfluidic chips at low temperature.

Research paper by Haotian H Duan, Luyan L Zhang, Gang G Chen

Indexed on: 01 Dec '09Published on: 01 Dec '09Published in: Journal of Chromatography A


As an important phthalate plasticizer, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) was employed to decrease the bonding temperature of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) microfluidic chips in this work based on the fact that it can lower the glass transition temperature of PMMA. The channel plates of the PMMA microchips were fabricated by the UV-initiated polymerization of prepolymerized methyl methacrylate between a silicon template and a PMMA plate. Prior to bonding, DBP solution in isopropanol was coated on PMMA covers. When isopropanol in the coating was allowed to evaporate in air, DBP was left on the PMMA covers. Subsequently, the DBP-coated covers were bonded to the PMMA channel plates at 90 degrees C for 10min under pressure. The channels in the complete microchips had been examined by optical microscope and scanning electron microscope. The results indicated that high quality bonding was achieved below the glass transition temperature of PMMA ( approximately 105 degrees C). The performance of the PMMA microfluidic chips sealed by plasticizer-assisted bonding has been demonstrated by separating and detecting ionic species by capillary electrophoresis in connection with contactless conductivity detection.