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14 February 2012 Hybrid membrane-microfluidic components using a novel ceramic MEMS technology
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A novel hybrid nano/microfabrication technology has been employed to produce unique MEMS and microfluidic components that integrate nanoporous membranes. The components are made by micromachining a self-organized nanostructured ceramic material that is biocompatible and amenable to surface chemistry modification. Microfluidic structures, such as channels and wells, can be made with a precision of <2 microns. Thin-film membranes can be integrated into the bottom of these structures, featuring a wide range of possible thicknesses, from 100 micron to <50 nm. Additionally, these membranes may be non-porous or porous (with controllable pore sizes from 200 nm to <5 nm), for sophisticated size-based separations. With previous and current support from the NIH SBIR program, we have built several unique devices, and demonstrated improved separations, cell culturing, and imaging (optical and electron microscopy) versus standard products. Being ceramic, the material is much more robust to demanding environments (e.g. high and low temperatures and organic solvents), compared to polymer-based devices. Additionally, we have applied multiple surface modification techniques, including atomic layer deposition, to manipulate properties such as electrical conductivity. This microfabrication technology is highly scaleable, and thus can yield low-cost, reliable, disposable microcomponents and devices. Specific applications that can benefit from this technology includes cell culturing and assays, imaging by cryo-electron tomography, environmental sample processing, as well as many others.
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Brent J. Lutz, Oleg Polyakov, and Chris Rinaldo "Hybrid membrane-microfluidic components using a novel ceramic MEMS technology", Proc. SPIE 8251, Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems X, 82510P (14 February 2012);

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