What's new

Low aspect ratio capping

January 25, 2023
A microfluidic device produced by Parallel Fluidics with a 1:200 aspect ratio channel.

20X improvement

Capping a microfluidic device without deforming its microfeatures is one of the biggest challenges in microfluidic manufacturing. Our new bonding technology allows bonded devices with aspect ratios of 1:100, a 10X improvement over our previous process.

A microfluidic device produced by Parallel Fluidics with a 1:200 aspect ratio channel.

Challenges in bonding microfluidic devices

Low aspect ratio features can be used to create filtering elements, physically constrain cells into a single layer, or provide a large field of view for imaging. They are useful for a wide variety of applications, but they also make capping processes difficult. Here at Parallel we use a thermal process to attach caps to fluidic layers. It is a valuable technique for many applications because it eliminates adhesives or solvents that could be problematic for chemistry or biology. 

However, the thermal process is challenging because it requires subjecting the devices to high temperatures and pressures. Microfeatures with heights that measure in microns can easily be destroyed in this process without very precise control. Low aspect ratio features are even more challenging because you end up with wide regions where the cap is unsupported. 

Image: unsupported cap and schematic of press

A microfluidic device produced by Parallel Fluidics with a 1:200 aspect ratio channel.

The cap can permanently sag during the bonding cycle in these regions, creating tolerance problems as best and potentially completely collapsing at worst. Because of the challenges, we previously listed 1:10 as the lowest aspect ratio that we could comfortably achieve. 

A new standard

We are now able to offer aspect ratios down to 1:100 thanks to a breakthrough in the design of our bonding process. The new technique unlocks a new set of possibilities for microfluidic designers without sacrificing any of the existing advantages of thermal capping.  Check out the Design Guide to see other specs and guidance that can inform your design process.

past updates


January 26, 2023
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January 19, 2023
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January 18, 2023
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January 25, 2023
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