Caister Academic Press

Xurography: Microfluidic Prototyping with a Cutting Plotter

Daniel A. Bartholomeusz, Ronald W. Boutté and Bruce K. Gale
from: Lab-on-a-Chip Technology (Vol. 1): Fabrication and Microfluidics (Edited by: Keith E. Herold and Avraham Rasooly). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2009)


Prototyping is necessary to show proof-of-concept for microfluidic applications and to develop and optimize functional microfluidic features unique to each LOC application. Each microfluidic feature depends on the application's chemistry, sample, purpose, detection method, and desired functionality. Inexpensive and rapid prototyping will accelerate the product-to-market and results-to-publication, whether you are developing a novel Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) for a particular application or using a previously developed LOC technology to test the feasibility of a particular assay.

This chapter discusses a rapid and inexpensive micro-fabrication technique using a cutting plotter (a plotter fit with a knife blade) with 10 μm resolution, to directly cut microstructures in thin polymer films that can be laminated into complete microfluidic devices, without photolithographic processes or chemicals. Cutting plotters are ideal for microfluidic prototyping because they can cut micro-features with aspect ratios of 1 - 2 times the material thickness in films ranging from 25 - 1000 μm thick. The plotters also costs less that ,000 and materials cost much less than a photomask. Multi-layered microfluidic structures cut from pressure sensitive and thermal activated adhesive films can be cut and laminated in less than 30 minutes. This method of using a cutting plotter to prototype is called Xurography, for the Greek root words Xuron and graphe meaning razor and writing, respectively. This inexpensive method can rapidly build microfluidic devices or tertiary fluid connections for higher resolution devices.

We describe xurography in detail, from materials and set-up, to design and fabrication. We also describe a couple of applications where xurography enabled a quick device feasibility study and significantly shorted the design time for a complicated microfluidic device read more ...

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