Semi-automated tape bonding apparatus for microfluidic devices
Sim, Wei Meng
Date of Issue2014
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Microfluidics is a rapidly growing multidisciplinary field of research involving physics, biochemistry and microsystems engineering. Coupled with the ability to create structures and patterns on micro and smaller length scales, it had triggered the development of microfluidic devices to transport, store and manage very small quantities of fluids. Glass was the type of material used firstly in the fabrication of microfluidic devices. Due to the drive to reduce the cost of such devices, polymeric materials have been explored as an alternative for the fabrication of microfluidic devices. In this final year project, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is the thermoplastic material chosen for the fabrication of the microfluidic devices. In the first step of the fabrication process, PMMA microfluidic device with open micro-channels on its planar surface are produced via the micro plastic injection moulding process. In order for the microfluidic device to be useable, sealing of the open micro-channels is necessary so as to produce the final enclosed fluidic paths. Adhesive bonding is one of the possible bonding techniques used for sealing of the open micro-channels. Currently, a manual tape bonding apparatus using adhesive bonding concept was available for the bonding operation. However, the cycle time for the bonding operation using the manual tape bonding apparatus was long. In addition, the tape cutting process performed by the swivel type cutter was inefficient. With regards to the disadvantages mentioned above, a semi-automated tape bonding apparatus was designed and fabricated to allow for semi-automatic operation for this final year project. Scope for the design improvement includes design and fabrication of semi-automatic mechanism, tape cutting mechanism and overall structural rigidity improvement. After the design and fabrication phase, the performance for the semi-automated tape bonding apparatus was evaluated. The semi-automated tape bonding apparatus was used during the tape bonding process to seal the open micro-channels on the microfluidic device. After the tape bonding process, droplet formation test was carried out to test the sealing of the open micro-channels on the bonded microfluidic device. The result of the droplet formation test had shown that droplets are generated successfully in the micro-channels of the bonded microfluidic device. In addition, there is no sign of fluid leakage from the bonded microfluidic device during the droplet formation test. From the result of the droplet formation test, it is concluded that the semi-automated tape bonding apparatus is successful to produce good sealing on the microfluidic device.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University