Date of Award
Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.
Ismail Emre Araci
Continuous-flow microfluidic large-scale integration (mLSI) is a developing field first introduced in the early 2000s, that continues to offer promising solutions to many biochemical, biophysical and biomedical problems. In his seminal paper, Thorsen et al. 2002 demonstrated the fabrication of high-density microfluidic systems capable of complex fluidic routing in combinatory arrays of multiplexors, mixers, and storage assemblies integrated with micromechanical valves. mLSI has been a powerful tool for scientific research by allowing for dramatic reduction in the volume of reagent needed for experimentation and offering highly parallelizable and dynamic process flows. These systems have since been the focus of strong interdisciplinary academic research efforts. Despite the success in scientific applications, the mLSI technologies have not found widespread use in commercial environments. One critical issue preventing mLSI to realize its full potential is the need for specialized fabrication techniques that are scalable and more suitable for the unique requirements of biology.
The work presented here demonstrates an mLSI integrated acoustofluidic platform that offers versatility while maintaining a robust fabrication process. In particular, conductive liquid metal-based acoustic transducers integrated with micromechanical valves to facilitate dynamic switching of the resonant frequency of the device and generated surface acoustic waves (SAWs) is demonstrated. Shortcomings in the fabrication of fluidic channels for mLSI integrated acoustofluidic applications are examined, and solutions to these problems are presented. A novel and scalable soft-lithographic method is introduced, that allows for the fabrication of large valvable channels with tunable height that exceeds practical limitations dictated by previous photolithographic techniques. A thorough characterization of this method and demonstration of its robustness are included here as a promising data to promote further exploration of the technique as a viable commercial solution for the fabrication of many classes of mLSI bio-devices. The testing of a computeraided design software, Columba, is briefly discussed.
Freitas, Daniel, "Membrane Deflection-based Fabrication and Design Automation for Integrated Acoustofluidics" (2018). Electrical Engineering Master's Theses. 2.