Microfluidics is the technology involving the engineering manipulation and control of fluid in the microliters or picoliters scale. This fluid manipulation is done through networks of channels and devices in the micrometers or nanometers scale. Microfluidics have practical applications in the medical and healthcare sector especially in diagnostic devices. One such microfluidics diagnostic device is the lab-on-a-chip (LOC), which integrates multiple laboratory functions on a small chip and requires extremely fluid volume for testing. Manufacturing of LOC and other microfluidics chips has its challenges due to the high precision required for all nanochannels and nanostructures. Uniformity within the channels with minimum deformation is extremely important as any changes in the channel size can affect the performance of the chip. After the molding of the microfluidics chips, the assembly process, which involves installation of parts and sealing of the chips, requires high precision as well. Inzign has the technological capabilities to overcome all these challenges and fabricate outstanding LOC and other microfluidics chips.
Inzign offers the following services for microfluidics manufacturing:
Design for Manufacturability
Every microfluidics design begins with Designing for Manufacturability(DFM). To ensure success of every unique product, Inzign uses a custom approach to the product’s design and assembly. Inzign’s dedicated design team works closely with customers to come up with the best mold design, which meets all specifications and delivers in terms of production rate and costs.
For microfluidics device manufacturing, Inzign understands the ability to meet the tolerances specified is important. This is taken into account as well as in the mold design so as to mold microchannel with minimal defects and within tolerances.Inzign aims to always bring the best out of the product by determining the most compatible material and cost effective manufacturing process.
Inzign is aware that precision is key for all microfluidics products and is dedicated to continuously produce tools of high precision. Inzign’s in house tooling capabilities and experienced team of engineers allows tools of the highest precision to be manufactured.
With the combination of both standard machining and LIGA process, Inzign is able to make complex tools without compromising on surface finishes and according to tolerance requirements. This results in uniform microfluidics channels and structures of the highest precision with little to no defects such as burr. Inzign believes in its own capabilities and provides the assurance to customers that the full potential of their microfluidics products can be realised.
Inzign is capable of plastic injection molding of 2um microfluidics channels and nanosurfaces with features down to 50 nm linewidth. Inzign optimises and fine-tune all injection molding processes to achieve perfect replication of the fine features for mass production. Inzign offers customized microfluidics chips to meet every customer’s unique specifications.
Currently, Inzign offers manufacturing of microfluidics chips in the following polymer substrates:
- Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)
- Polycarbonate (PC)
- Cyclic Olefin Copolymer (COC)
- Cyclic Olefin Polymer (COP)
To further improve the functions of microfluidics chips, Inzign uses a number of surface engineering techniques to modify the surfaces of the microfluidics chips. These techniques improve functions, by altering conductivity and chemical resistance, as well as improve the overall aesthetics of the chip.
Functionality of the microfluidics chip can increase through:
- Creation of Hydrophobic surface
- Creation of Hydrophilic surface
- Improved binding to a specific agent
Currently, Inzign provides the following surface modification processes:
- Plasma Treatment
- Ozone/UV Treatment
- Hydrophilic Coating
- Silicone Coating
Inzign possesses advanced technology in bonding required for sealing of the microfluidics channels. Inzign offers manual to high speed automated assemblies catered specially to bonding of the microfluidics products for optimal production rates.
Channel sealing methods available in Inzign are:
- Adhesive lamination
- Solvent Bonding
- Thermal bonding
- Laser Welding
- Selective Adhesive Lamination
- Ultrasonic Welding
Reagent / components loading
Inzign offers a variety of options for customized reagent loading or pre-loading of lab-on-a-chip consumables. This includes reagents in solids and liquids form and of various quantities. The process of content filling is done through contactless dispensing or spotting. Inzign offers robust and reproducibility processes for mass production with loading done according to specific customer requirements.
Inzign also improves customers’ current reagent/component loading methods with manufacturability in mind, bringing microfluidics devices a step closer towards mass production. Inzign’s 10,000 cleanroom is also equipped with a chemical fume hood to provide a safe environment for the loading or pre-loading of reagents.