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24 February 2009 Integration of micro-optics and microfluidics in a glass chip by fs-laser for optofluidic applications
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A lab-on-a-chip (LOC) is a device that incorporates in a single substrate the functionalities of a biological laboratory, i.e. a network of fluidic channels, reservoirs, valves, pumps and sensors, all with micrometer dimensions. Its main advantages are the possibility of working with small samples quantities (from nano- to picoliters), high sensitivity, speed of analysis and the possibility of measurement automation and standardization. They are becoming the most powerful tools of analytical chemistry with a broad application in life sciences, biotechnology and drug development. The next technological challenge of LOCs is direct on-chip integration of photonic functionalities for sensing of biomolecules flowing in the microchannels. Ultrafast laser processing of the bulk of a dielectric material is a very flexible and simple method to produce photonic devices inside microfluidic chips for capillary electrophoresis (CE) or chemical microreactors. By taking advantage of the unique three-dimensional capabilities of this fabrication technique, more complex functionalities, such as splitters or Mach-Zehnder interferometers, can be implemented. In this work we report on the use of femtosecond laser pulses to fabricate photonic devices (as waveguides, splitters and interferometers) inside commercial CE chips, without affecting the manufacturing procedure of the microfluidic part of the device. The fabrication of single waveguides intersecting the channels allows one to perform absorption or Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF) sensing of the molecules separated inside the microchannels. Waveguide splitters are used for multipoint excitation of the microfluidic channel for parallel or higher sensitivity measurements. Finally, Mach-Zehnder interferometers are used for label-free sensing of the samples flowing in the microfluidic channels by means of refractive index changes detection.
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Roberto Osellame, Rebeca Martinez, Paolo Laporta, Roberta Ramponi, and Giulio Cerullo "Integration of micro-optics and microfluidics in a glass chip by fs-laser for optofluidic applications", Proc. SPIE 7202, Laser-based Micro- and Nanopackaging and Assembly III, 720202 (24 February 2009);

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