Characterisation of an adhesive-free packaging system for polymeric microfluidic biochemical devices and reactors

M. Reichen, A. Super, M. J. Davies, R. J. Macown, B. O'Sullivan, T. V. Kirk, M. P.C. Marques, N. Dimov, N. Szita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The development of microfluidic devices is an iterative process that involves series of improvements, which can be costly and time consuming. We present a packaging system which makes use of an accessible rapid prototyping method, and facilitates the rapid and reliable implementation of polymeric microfluidic device designs. The packaging system uses a modular design and is based on an adhesive-free connection of a reusable and stiff polymeric interface plate with a disposable, soft microfluidic chip under compression. We characterised the system by numerically and experimentally studying the effect of compression and key dimensions on burst pressure and flow rate. All parts are fabricated with readily available low-cost materials and micro-milling technology. The presented approach is both facilitating and systematising the fabrication of devices with different degrees of complexity; keeping assembly and interconnection simple and straightforward. Furthermore, minimising the time between a design and a finished working prototype yields rapid verification of microfluidic design concepts and testing of assays. Several chip designs were fabricated, then growth of stem cells and hydrodynamic vertical flow focusing in a microfluidic device were realised using our approach. Our approach minimises the need for re-development and re-testing of interface components; reducing cost and time requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalChemical and Biochemical Engineering Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Hydrodynamic vertical flow focussing
  • Micro milling
  • Micro reactors
  • Packaging
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Stem cell culture


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