Microfluidic Devices & Chips – Manufacturing, Bonding & Machining
Working with many of the world’s leading biotech, medical diagnostic, drug development and drinks companies, we have experienced a high demand for microfluidic manifolds and chips from our customers which are used to process smaller sample and fluid volumes.
To support our customer microfluidic requirements and applications, we have successfully developed new manufacturing and bonding techniques (HAB) which allow microfluidic devices and chips to be manufactured with complex internal tracks and features down to 150 microns in size.
The first Medical Manifold
Carville developed the worlds first diffusion bonded manifold for a medical diagnostic application in 1980. Since the first manifold, Carville have produced in excess of one million manifolds for applications in medical diagnostics, clinical chemistry, drug development and point of care applications.
The development of Micro Fluidics
Working with a number of the world’s leading medical diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies, Carville have witnessed the trend to move from laboratory testing to point of care testing. This trend has required the development of smaller hand held devices which use disposable micro fluidic chips to carry out patient testing.
Carville began to manufacture micro fluidic devices and chips for drug development and point of care testing in 2000. The parts produced by Carville are CNC machined and tend to be multiple use devices with the single use disposable cartridges being an injection moulded component produced by third parties.
Micro Fluidic Materials
The majority of the micro fluidic devices manufactured by Carville are produced in fully heat treated cast clear acrylic, (PMMA). For clinical chemistry and biotech applications that require more aggressive reagents, Carville can also produce micro fluidic devices using engineering materials such as Polycarbonate (PC), Polysulphone (PSU) and Polyetherimide (PEI).
Micro Fluid Production
The internal features of the micro fluidic device are CNC machined which means it is possible to produce these devices in smaller volumes without the need for expensive mould tooling.
Micro fluidic devices can contain a number of features such as small tracks, mixing cells and optical windows for sample analysis. Carville currently produce plastic micro fluidic chips with small track sizes down to 150 microns, (0.006”).
Bonding of Micro Fluidics
Micro fluidic devices produced by injection moulding will have a base layer and a thin upper layer which is use to form a seal. Micro fluidic devices manufactured by Carville can have variable layer thickness and are bonded using Carville’s proprietary diffusion bonding or HAB bonding techniques.
If there is a requirement for thin wall sections, it is possible to machine and polish devices post bond. Carville have produced devices with top layers as small as 200µm which allows optical analysis equipment to get as close as possible to the processed sample.
A micro fluidic device may be part of a larger system or be designed as a disposable micro fluidic chip.