Electrophoresis, Vol.25, No.21-22, 3825-3831, 2004
Microfluidic devices obtained by thermal toner transferring on glass substrate
A new process for the manufacture of microfluidic devices based on deposition of laser-printing toner on glass substrates is described. It is an alternative method to the toner on polyester film (toner-polyester) one, previously introduced. Commercial laser printers cannot print directly on glass, thus the toner must first be printed on a special paper and then transferred by heating under pressure to the glass surface. Although this procedure is more complex than the toner-polyester one, it can be repeated several times, yielding multiple toner layers. Even without special alignment equipment, up to four layers could be satisfactorily piled up. Characterization tests revealed that the toner-glass devices have similar behavior as toner-polyester ones regarding the toner layer porosity. The main advantages of the toner-glass technology are improved mechanical stability, possibility of multiple toner layers, augmented electroosmotic flow (EOF), and improved heat transfer. On the other hand, toner adhesion to glass is weaker than to polyester, which limits the device lifetime and usable liquid media. The measured EOF mobility (3.5 x 10(-4) cm(2.)V(-1.)s(-1) for pH 7) suggests that it is mainly determined by the glass surface, being little influenced by the toner walls. Microchip electrophoresis with contactless conductivity detection and photometric detection were implemented using toner-glass devices.