Fabrication, properties, and actuation technologies of microfluidic devices
The project aims at the fabrication and actuation of microfluidic devices with novel methods. The development of microfluidic devices in the last thirty years has attracted the interest of both the scientific community and the industry, because such devices enable the fast, efficient and cost-effective (bio)chemical analyses. Microfluidic devices constitute the basic components of lab-on-a-chip devices that promise to contribute significantly in the research in fields such as biotechnology, drug discovery, as well as medicine.
For the fabrication of microfluidic devices, we proposed the development and study of plasma processing for patterning of their structural material and the roughness control, while for the actuation of such devices we proposed the study and use of electrowetting on dielectrics. Plasma processing was used for patterning polymeric substrates, as an alternative to the widespread soft lithography and it was studied towards optimization of the etch rates and structure profile (PhD thesis 2). In addition, plasma etching was used for roughness minimization or control on silicon devices (PhD1). At the same time, electrowetting on dielectric with spatial-temporal actuation was studied as a method for guiding liquid samples in microfluidics, both theoretically and experimentally (PhD 3, 4). Among the obvious advantages of such devices, we point out the low power consumption, the reliability, as no moving parts are needed, and the low fabrication cost.