Many biomedical devices today incorporate microfluidic components. Often, these involve specialized fabrication and assembly techniques. When designing microfluidic devices, its important to understand fluid transport phenomena at small length scales.
Tools such as finite-element analysis (FEA) modeling can be useful in the early stages of these designs to anticipate device performance before expensive tooling is built. It’s also important to understand the capabilities and limitations of the anticipated manufacturing processes to evaluate tolerance requirements and ensure that a design is scalable. We have experience designing, prototyping, and scaling microfluidic devices using a variety of manufacturing techniques.
Design & Prototyping
We can develop microfluidic designs and realize these designs with low-volume prototyping technologies such as 3D printing, low-volume injection molding, PDMS soft lithography, or laminates with pressure-sensitive adhesive. We have a full suite of rapid prototyping tools at our facility.
We have experience developing experimemntal protocols and apparati for microfluidic systems including microscopy equipment, automated pressure controllers, and electrical instrumentation.
We have developed FEA models of microfluidic consumables to predict a wide range of phenomena including convective- diffusive transport, chemical reaction rates, and thermal transfer. We have also developed ray tracing simulations of optical effects in microfluidic devices.
When possible, we advice our clients to design microfluidic consumables for injection molding as this is generally provides the best scalability and flexibility of materials. However, injection molding has its design limitations, there is a wide range of techniques available depending on part geometry, and not all vendors are capable of meeting the demanding tolerance requirements of microfluidic devices. When it comes time to scale up your deisgn, we can help navigate vendor selection, design transfer, and tool validation.