Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Engineering - Materials Engineering


Materials Engineering


Dr. Richard Savage


Microfluidics refers to manipulation, precise control, and behavior of fluids at the micro and nanoliter scales. It has entered the realm of science as a way to precisely measure or mix small amounts of fluid to perform highly controlled reactions. Glass and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) are common materials used to create microfluidic devices; however, glass is difficult to process and PDMS is relatively hydrophobic. In this study, SU-8, an epoxy based (negative) photoresist was used to create various electrokinetic microfluidic chips. SU-8 is commonly used in microelectromechanical design. Spin coating of various SU-8 formulations allows for 1 μm to 100 μm thick layers with aspect ratios reportedly as high as 50:1. Case studies were performed to understand the curing/crosslinking process of SU-8 by differential scanning calorimetry. Supplier (MicroChem) recommended parameters were then altered to allow for adequate development of microfluidic channels, while maintaining enough molecular mobility to subsequently bond the SU-8 to a secondary substrate. Three SU-8 layers were used to create fully (SU-8) enclosed microfluidic channels. An (1) SU-8 2050 fully cured base layer was used as a platform on silicon to build from, (2) an SU-8 2050 partially cured layer for developing microfluidic channels , and (3) an SU-8 2007 uncured layer for bonding a secondary substrate to enclose the microfluidic channels. Bond quality was verified by optical and scanning electron microscopy, which resulted in a nearly 100% bond with little to no reflow of SU-8 into channels. Working pressures (ΔP across the capillary) of 15.57 lb/in2 (max detection) were obtained with no fluid leaks. Electroosmotic flow and steaming potential measurements failed. Electrophoretic behavior of glass particles was observed and particle velocities were compared by the application of 200 volts and 300 volts, across a channel length of 2 cm. Particle velocities obtained ranged from 100 μm/s to 1500 μm/s.