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Versatile, Flexible and Biocompatible Elastomeric Microtubes
The technology relates to a method of fabricating microtubes made with elastomeric material (e.g. polydimethylsiloxane, PDMS) with an inner diameter of 10 to 400 um using mechanical apparatus and cost efficient common materials readily available in the market. These microtubes can be used as microfluidic channels in microfluidics devices for microscale manipulation, analysis and sorting of micro and nanoscale entities such as biomolecules, cells and particles. The microtubes may also be filled with a material of the user’s choice for their target applications. The simple method of this technology contrasts with the conventional fabrication of microfluidics, which involves the complicated high cost photolithography process that limits microfluidic channel geometry to rectangular cross-section and is difficult to form complex three-dimensional (3D) microstructures.
We are currently seeking opportunities to out-license this technology.
Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages
- Biocompatibility : The material used for the microtube is biocompatible so the microtube has broad applications in the biological and biomedical areas.
- Circular cross-section : This allows for easy fabrication of circular cross-section microfluidics as compared to current photolithography technique, which produces mainly rectangular or square cross-sections. In addition, this geometry can recapitulate aspects of blood vessels and hence allows for bio-mimicking blood flow in vitro.
- Ease of fabrication : The microtubes can be produced without the need for the complex and expensive soft lithography processes in a clean room.
- Ease of setting up microfluidic systems : Some complicated components in microfluidics such as the ‘Quake valves’ can now be realized with just simple mechanical switches to control flow through the microtubes.
- Robustness : It does not suffer from delamination as compared to current microfluidic systems.
- Flexibility : The microtube is flexible and can be easily bent and formed into straight or curved channels and be mounted at any position within a microfluidic system.
- Versatility : Microtubes can be put together to form both 2D and 3D microfluidic systems. Design of microfluidic systems can be altered at will without the need to refabricate the entire microfluidic device again.
- Gas permeable
- Highly transparent
- The primary application area is in the field of microfluidics.
- The microtube is also an excellent candidate for producing biomedical devices for various applications. These may include flexible microfluidics, artificial skins, organs-on-chips, mimicking of blood vessel and capillary network, opto-microfluidics and 3D bioreactors.
- In other potential but yet unidentified applications, the lumen of the microtube can also be filled with a material of the user’s choice to meet the requirements of the end user.
- Mechanical process of fabricating microtubes, instead of the use of chemical processes in conventional methods of fabricating micro-channels.
- Very small inner diameter tubes can be fabricated to suit end user applications.
- Thickness of tube can be controlled to meet requirement of end user.