Biomedical Microdevices

Heterogeneous integration of gels into microfluidics using a mesh carrier

View publication


The incorporation of hydrogels inside microfluidics is a promising method for localizing receptors inside microfluidic structures for many bio-analytical applications as well as for working with cells. However, current methods rely on the in situ polymerization of hydrogels and therefore necessitate optical masks and extensive post-polymerization steps for example for washing uncrosslinked gel precursors and receptors. Here, we report a simple and efficient method for the integration of hydrogels to microfluidic chips. Small volumes of poly(ethylene)glycol-based acrylamide (PEGACA) hydrogels are photopolymerized on a mesh, rinsed, partially dried and transferred to microfluidic structures by simple contact. The gels can be derivatized before transfer with receptors such as streptavidin, antibodies, or can entrap beads as small as 200 nm. We detail the role of meshes relative to the mesh density and wettability and demonstrate how hydrogels can be transferred into capillary-driven microfluidic chips, which are easily sealed using a dry-film resist. By analogy to microfabrication strategies wherein critical components are produced separately and then combined, our method introduces the concept of heterogeneous integration of critical (bio)chemicals to microfluidic chips using an intermediate mesh carrier.


08 Jul 2014


Biomedical Microdevices