[Micromachines] Preparing of Interdigitated Microelectrode Arrays for AC Electrokinetic Devices Usin
The surge in popularity of lab-on-chip applications has set a new challenge for the fabrication of prototyping devices, such as electrokinetic devices. In such devices, a micro-electrode is the key component. Currently, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) processes such as lift-off and etching techniques are employed to prepare the micro-sized conductive patterns. These processes are time-consuming, require a material removal step, clean-room facilities, and the utilisation of harmful chemicals. On the other hand, rapid fabrication is required by researchers designing such devices to test their functionality. Additive manufacturing technology such as the inkjet printing of conductive material is one potential solution to achieve that objective. In this study, we report the utilisation of inkjet printing for the rapid prototyping of alternating current (AC) electrokinetic devices on a rigid glass substrate. The non-lithographical and vacuum-free process for the fabrication of a microfluidic device was demonstrated. The smallest feature size of 60 μm was successfully printed. The crystalline structure of the printed material under different curing temperatures was characterised. It was found that these treatment conditions affect electrical conductivity. Although a low-temperature sintering process was applied, low resistivity was obtained. An AC electrokinetics device for the manipulation of microparticles has been prepared to illustrate such printed silver micro-patterns. The results strongly support the idea that inkjet printing is a powerful and cost-effective prototyping tool for researchers who work with electrokinetic devices.
Van-Thai Tran 1, Yuefan Wei 2, Wei Jing Liau 2, Hongyi Yang 3 and Hejun Du 2,* 1 Singapore Centre for 3D Printing, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Singapore 2 School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Singapore 3 Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, 71 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 638075, Singapore * Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.