In-plane integration of polymer microfluidic channels with optical waveguides - a preliminary investigation

Sheridan, A.K. and Stewart, G. and Ur-Reyman, H. and Suyal, N. and Uttamchandani, D.G. (2009) In-plane integration of polymer microfluidic channels with optical waveguides - a preliminary investigation. IEEE Sensors Journal, 9 (12). pp. 1627-1632. ISSN 1530-437X

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Abstract

The next major challenges for lab-on-a-chip (LoC) technology are 1) the integration of microfluidics with optical detection technologies and 2) the large-scale production of devices at a low cost. In this paper the fabrication and characterisation of a simple optical LoC platform comprising integrated multimode waveguides and microfluidic channels based on a photo-patternable acrylate based polymer is reported. The polymer can be patterned into both waveguides and microfluidic channels using photolithography. Devices are therefore both quick and cost-effective to fabricate, resulting in chips that are potentially disposable. The devices are designed to be highly sensitive, using an in-plane direct excitation configuration in which waveguides intersect the microfluidic channel orthogonally. The waveguides are used both to guide the excitation light and to collect the fluorescence signal from the analyte. The potential of the device to be used for fluorescence measurements is demonstrated using an aqueous solution of sodium fluorescein. A detection limit of 7 nM is achieved. The possibilities offered by such a device design, in providing a cost-effective and disposable measurement system based on the integration of optical waveguides with LoC technology is discussed.