We present a cost-effective and highly-portable plastic prototype that can be interfaced with a cell phone to implement an optofluidic imaging cytometry platform. It is based on a PMMA microfluidic chip that fits inside an opto-mechanical platform fabricated by a 3D printer. The fluorescence excitation and imaging is performed using the LED and the CMOS from the cell phone increasing the compactness of the system. A custom developed application is used to analyze the images and provide a value of particle concentration.
Microfluidic optical stretchers are valuable optofluidic devices for studying single cell mechanical properties. These usually consist of a single microfluidic channel where cells, with dimensions ranging from 5 to 20 μm are trapped and manipulated through optical forces induced by two counter-propagating laser beams. Recently, monolithic optical stretchers have been directly fabricated in fused silica by femtosecond laser micromachining (FLM). Such a technology allows writing in a single step in the substrate volume both the microfluidic channel and the optical waveguides with a high degree of precision and flexibility. However, this method is very slow and cannot be applied to cheaper materials like polymers. Therefore, novel technological platforms are needed to boost the production of such devices on a mass scale.
In this work, we propose integration of FLM with micro-injection moulding (μIM) as a novel route towards the cost-effective and flexible manufacturing of polymeric Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) devices. In particular, we have fabricated and assembled a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microfluidic optical stretcher by exploiting firstly FLM to manufacture a metallic mould prototype with reconfigurable inserts. Afterwards, such mould was employed for the production, through μIM, of the two PMMA thin plates composing the device. The microchannel with reservoirs and lodgings for the optical fibers delivering the laser radiation for cell trapping were reproduced on one plate, while the other included access holes to the channel. The device was assembled by direct fs-laser welding, ensuring sealing of the channel and avoiding thermal deformation and/or contamination.
Femtosecond-pulsed laser welding of transparent materials on a micrometer scale is a versatile tool for the fabrication and assembly of electronic, electromechanical, and especially biomedical micro-devices. In this paper, we report on microwelding of two transparent layers of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) with femtosecond laser pulses at 1030 nm in the MHz regime. We aim at exploiting localized heat accumulation to weld the two layers without any preprocessing of the sample and any intermediate absorbing media, by focusing fs-laser pulses at the interface.
The modifications produced by the focused laser beam into the bulk material have been firstly investigated depending on the laser process parameters aiming to produce continuous melting. Results have been evaluated based on heat accumulation models. Finally, fs-laser welding of PMMA samples have been successfully demonstrated and tested by leakage tests for application in direct laser assembly of microfluidic devices.