microfluidic system, PDMS


Microfluidics is both a science and a technology offering great and perhaps even revolutionary capabilities to impact the society in the future. However, due to the scaling effects there are unknown phenomena and technology barriers about fluidics in microchannel, material properties in microscale and interactions with fluids are still missing. A systematic investigation has been performed aiming to develop "A Customer Programmable Microfluidic System". This innovative Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based microfluidic system provides a bio-compatible platform for bio-analysis systems such as Lab-on-a-chip, micro-total-analysis system and biosensors as well as the applications such as micromirrors. The system consists of an array of microfluidic devices and each device containing a multilayer microvalve. The microvalve uses a thermal pneumatic actuation method to switch and/or control the fluid flow in the integrated microchannels. It provides a means to isolate samples of interest and channel them from one location of the system to another based on needs of realizing the customers' desired functions. Along with the fluid flow control properties, the system was developed and tested as an array of micromirrors. An aluminum layer is embedded into the PDMS membrane. The metal was patterned as a network to increase the reflectivity of the membrane, which inherits the deformation of the membrane as a mirror. The deformable mirror is a key element in the adaptive optics. The proposed system utilizes the extraordinary flexibility of PDMS and the addressable control to manipulate the phase of a propagating optical wave front, which in turn can increase the performance of the adaptive optics. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) has been widely used in microfabrication for microfluidic systems. However, few attentions were paid in the past to mechanical properties of PDMS. Importantly there is no report on influences of microfabrication processes which normally involve chemical reactors and biologically reaction processes. A comprehensive study was made in this work to study fundamental issues such as scaling law effects on PDMS properties, chemical emersion and temperature effects on mechanical properties of PDMS, PDMS compositions and resultant properties, as well as bonding strength, etc. Results achieved from this work will provide foundation of future developments of microfluidics utilizing PDMS.


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Graduation Date



Chen, Quanfang


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering








Release Date

December 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)