Cornell University researchers have found a way to construct fluidic channels that permits fluid to flow more freely. The simple and inexpensive method results in tiny channels with corners that are elliptical rather than sharp. These channels can be used to control the flow of minuscule amounts of fluid through “labs-on-a-chip” and inexpensive, hand-held chemical and biological testing devices.
The channels are made using a spinning technique to deposit parallel, evenly-spaced polymer fibres onto silicon, silicon dioxide or glass chips. That is covered with a layer of liquid glass. Photolithography is then used to add reservoirs to the chip and a hot plasma beam etches holes at each end. Then by heating the materials 350 degrees Celsius decomposes the fibres, leaving elliptical channels.
These channels could be used to separate, count and analyze biological molecules.