Replicative manufacturing of multifunctional microfluidic foils (ReMultiMi)

Superhydrophobic/hydrophilic surfaces (lotus effect)
© Fraunhofer IWS
Superhydrophobic/hydrophilic surfaces (lotus effect)

Project description

In life science applications, increasing demands on reproducibility and precision of lab-on-chip systems require new tools for the replication of polymer films with site-selectively functionalized surfaces. The project aims at achieving film multifunctionality – independently from their chemical composition - by laser-based micro- and nanostructuring of replication tool surfaces, e.g. to efficiently adjust hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties. To this end, one-step processes using direct laser writing (DLW) and direct laser interference patterning (DLIP) have to be developed.

In many industrial sectors conventional tool making is the backbone of industry. Recently, however, tooling has increasingly reached its limits, as the necessary product functions on tools are becoming more and more complex, thus requiring new approaches. For example, diagnostic products can be improved by a defined film surface design to increase reproducibility and precision of the resulting lab-on-chip (LoC) systems. The polymer films used to manufacture such systems are currently produced in particular by hot stamping. A mass-production-capable and cost-effective alternative to polymer film structuring is UV replication. By additional local laser processing of selected areas of the molding tools with microstructures, the surfaces of the active film parts can be functionalized. Thus, specific fluid-influencing properties are established.

Toolmakers benefit from the surface functionalization as a result of laser structuring, since the properties obtained can be used in a wide range of applications. In particular, this includes self-cleaning surfaces, corrosion protection, anti-icing, friction reduction and applications in the field of prosthetics by increasing the adhesion of bone cells to implants.