Realizing that current microfluidic chip fabrication techniques are time consuming and labor intensive as well as always have material leftover after chip fabrication, this research work proposes an innovative approach for rapid microfluidic chip production. The key idea relies on a combination of a widely-used inkjet printing method and a heat-based polymer curing technique with an electronic-mechanical control, thus eliminating the need of masking and molds compared to typical microfluidic fabrication processes. In addition, as the appropriate amount of polymer is utilized during printing, there is much less amount of material wasted. Our inkjet-based microfluidic printer can print out the desired microfluidic chip pattern directly onto a heated glass surface, where the printed polymer is suddenly cured. Our proof-of-concept demonstration for widely-used single-flow channel, Y-junction, and T-junction microfluidic chips shows that the whole microfluidic chip fabrication process requires only 3 steps with a fabrication time of ~6 minutes.
Our work demonstrates a MEMS based handheld dual-axis confocal microscope for cervical cancer screening. Imaging demonstration is performed with plant and animal tissue biopsies. The data is collected and displayed in real time with 2-5 Hz frame rates.