[Analytical Chemistry]Comparing microfluidic performance of 3D printing platforms
Three dimensional printing (3D printing) has emerged as a potential revolutionary technology for the fabrication of mi-crofluidic devices. A direct experimental comparison of the three 3D printing technologies dominating microfluidics was conducted using a Y-junction microfluidic device; the design of which was optimized for each printer - fused deposition molding (FDM), Polyjet, and digital light processing stereolithography (DLP-SLA). Printer performance was evaluated in terms of feature size, accuracy, and suitability for mass manufacturing; laminar flow was studied to assess their suitabil-ity for microfluidics. FDM was unsuitable for microfabrication with minimum features of 321 ± 5 µm, and rough sur-faces of 10.97 µm. However for microfluidic devices > 500 µm, rapid mixing (71 ± 12% after 5 mm, 100 µL/min) indi-cate strengths in fabricating micromixers. Polyjet fabricated channels with a minimum channel size of 205 ± 13 µm, with surface roughness of 0.99 µm. Despite this, increased mixing (27% ± 10%) suggested suitability for microfluidics where flow splitting would not be a requirement, such as cell culture or microdroplet generators. DLP-SLA fabricated a minimum channel size of 154 ± 10 µm, and 94 ± 7 µm for positive structures such as soft lithography templates, with roughness of 0.35 µm. These results in addition to low mixing (8% ± 1%) showed suitability for microfabrication, and microfluidics requiring precise control of flow. Through further discussion of the capabilities, and limitations of these printers, we aim to provide guidance toward the selection of the 3D printing technology most suitable for specific micro-fluidic applications.
Niall P. Macdonald, Joan Marc Cabot, Petr Smejkal, Rosanne M Guijt, Brett Paull, and Michael C. Breadmore Anal. Chem., Just Accepted Manuscript DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b00136