Microfluidics combines expertise in engineering, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, and biotechnology to design systems in which extremely small volumes of fluids are processed through tiny channels milled into a device substrate. Applications include the development of inkjet printheads—the most successful commercial application of microfluidics—as well as microbiology testing devices that separate fluids into their component parts.
Machining microfluidic devices involves milling micron-scale channels to exact dimensions into the substrate material, channels that will only allow specific fluids to pass through and to achieve specified tolerances such as flow rate, surface tension and resistance.
The Microlution 5100-S five-axis high speed milling station can be configured to provide a flexible, accurate, cost-effective microfluidic channel machining solution. With compact footprint and micron-level accuracy, the 5100-S has been used to create micro channels as small as 20 microns wide. The 5100-S can be used to mill microfluidic channels and structures in polymers (such as PMMA or PC), and also do so on flexible titanium substrates (400um thick).
The high acceleration and overall performance of the Microlution platform enables features, accuracy and quality not possible with other machines. The system is extremely rigid and the tool is extremely stable, delivering accurate channels and corners even amid direction changes. Some manufacturers have found that the platform achieves accuracy as tight as within 100 nanometers, verified by a calibrated contour microscope.