A novel method for fabricating micrometer sized gel patterns is described. The presented method involves spin-coating a pre-gel solution on a surface that was chemically treated to modulate its surface energy, creating highly hydrophobic areas on a hydrophilic substrate. Following spin-coating, the gel solution self organizes on the hydrophilic sites. This method offers the advantages of high resolution, self-alignment to pre-patterned electrodes, and a simple straightforward fabrication process. Minimum feature size achieved was approximately 20 μm. The characteristic shrinking and swelling times of gel patterns were measured and found to be around 0.6 s for swelling and 2 s for shrinking (for a 60 μm diameter gel) in agreement with the reduced response time expected for scaled down gel patterns. These results suggest the suitability of these gel patterns as valves or actuators in microfluidic devices. Micron-size gel patterns were also incorporated into microfluidic channels thus demonstrating a new approach to create simple, affordable, microfluidic devices, which incorporate "smart" hydrogels as building elements in a simple fashion.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects|
|State||Published - 15 Nov 2006|
- Phase transition