WARF: P01068US

Microfluidic Devices Fabricated Using Surface Tension and Photopolymerization of Liquid Phase


David Beebe, Joseph Bauer

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a liquid phase process to construct smooth, 3-D microstructures.
OVERVIEWMicrostructures already show potential in transdermal drug delivery systems. Using these structures, drugs could be delivered through the skin in an essentially painless manner.

Traditional methods of fabricating microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are limited to 2-D or pseudo 3-D orthogonal structures. For example, a vertical dimension can be formed by electroplating areas that are patterned with light. However, this technique is relatively expensive, time-consuming and difficult to control.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a liquid phase process to construct smooth, 3-D microstructures.  In this process, a solid is brought into contact with an air-liquid interface to form a shape in the liquid. The liquid, called Norland Optical Adhesive, No. 61, cures upon UV exposure. In this manner, the solid's 3-D shape is made permanent in the liquid.
  • Creating smooth, 3-D microstructures
  • Creating micro-needle arrays for transdermal drug delivery that is essentially painless
  • Several structures can be formed including, walls, cones, volcano structures and other diverse, curved 3-D microstructures.
  • The shape of the liquid can be controlled by making changes to the solid's temperature, size, shape and properties (composition).
  • Complex connected structures can be formed by placing multiple solid objects in contact with the liquid surface before polymerization.
  • Compared to existing technology (deep reactive ion etching and electroplating), this method is less expensive, faster and yields better shapes.
  • Micro-needles created with this technique have been shown to inject fluid.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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