DEVICE GEOMETRY

Parallel Fluidics produces custom thermoplastic microfludic devices. We are constantly expanding our manufacturing capabilities, so check here for the latest design guidelines, or get in touch to discuss your microfluidic application.

1. Chip Body

The body of the microfluidic device—sometimes called a “chip”—contains channels and features that dictate the flow of fluid through the device. Flow may be controlled with external equipment or via the design of the microfeatures onboard the chip. All Parallel chip bodies are made of thermoplastics.

2. Capping layer

Capping layers seal the chip to allow flow through the microfeatures. Chips can be capped with thin adhesive films or thermally bonded with thermoplastic sheets. Often, imaging is conducted through the capping layer into the chip features, so thickness and clarity matter.

3. Connectors

To interface with equipment and tubing, microfluidic devices often use standard connectors. Luer connectors are pictured here, but HPLC fittings, barb fittings, and simple through-holes are other common choices.

4. Features

Features are on-chip design elements used to accomplish fluidic tasks. This chip features two inlet features that combine in a serpentine mixer, followed by an imaging well, and a single outlet port.

MATERIALS

PMMA


Polymethyl methacrylate

PMMA is an inexpensive polymer that is naturally more hydrophilic than many other options. It has excellent optical transparency but is brittle and more prone to cracking than other thermoplastics.

PC


Polycarbonate

PC is an extremely impact-resistant material with a high glass transition temperature. It is well suited for polymerase chain reaction techniques due to its thermal stability.

PS (Coming Soon)


Polystyrene

PS is the gold standard thermoplastic material typically used in labware for biological applications. It is biocompatible, rigid, low cost, and its surface can be easily functionalized.

COC (Coming Soon)


Cyclic Olefin Copolymer

COC is a thermoplastic that combines good imaging properties, chemical resistance, thermal stability, and biocompatibility. These features make it an extremely attractive option for microfluidic applications, but at a higher cost than many other thermoplastics.

CAPPING LAYERS

Uncapped

Devices can be delivered as a single piece without any form of seal. Users can apply their own capping layers to meet specific requirements.

Thermoplastic capping layer

Thermoplastic sheets can be thermally bonded to the chip body and are available in a variety of thicknesses. Capping with thermoplastic sheets is well suited to applications with high pressures or strict chemical compatibility requirements. As part of the thermal bonding process, microfeatures may become more hydrophilic.

Available thermoplastic capping thicknesses:
      PMMA: 1.5 mm
      PC: 1.5 mm or 0.3mm

Adhesive films

Alternatively, channels can be sealed with high-performance adhesive films. Films can be advantageous because they can be precisely engineered to meet your application’s needs and can be used to either promote or inhibit capillary flow. Parallel offers both hydrophobic and hydrophilic films:

A water droplet on hydrophobic film.

A water droplet on hydrophilic film.

CONNECTORS

THROUGH-HOLE

A simple through-hole in a microfluidic device can be used to glue tubing directly to a chip or used as an inlet for capillary applications.

LUER TAPER FITTING

Luer lock fittings are common in labs and can be found in many different options. However, they all share a common tapered mating surface that allows various Luer fittings to be attached to a standard socket.

BARB FITTING (COMING SOON)

Barbs are used to connect a microfluidic device directly to soft elastomer tubing. They are easy to attach, but can be difficult to disassemble.

RESERVOIR (COMING SOON)

Reservoirs can be used to store sample inputs, outputs, or reagents without wetting any external components and are compatible with many flow methods.

MANUFACTURABILITY

Parallel can produce channels and microfeatures according to the following guidelines:

Dimension Minimum Maximum Units
Width (a) 200 - um
Height (b) 50 500 um
Aspect Ratio (b:a) - 2:1 -
Internal Corner Radius 25 - um
Overall device footprint - 75 x 75 mm

Typical draft angle (c) is 10°. Draft does not need to be modeled into CAD files.