Dhanesh Kasi and colleagues have developed a cleanroom-free microfabrication procedure for rapid prototyping of Organ-on-Chip and microfluidic devices.
Organ-on-Chip (OoC) refers to biomimetic microdevices that contain cell culture compartments and/or microfluidic channels and (human) cells. They may also include integrated sensors for functional measurements, or valves to control fluid flows. Chips are usually produced in cleanroom facilities that contain specialized equipment for microfabrication. A fast and low-threshold method for fabricating simple OoC and microfluidic devices is beneficial to reduce prototyping times, and lowers barriers for labs to perform OoC research.
A simplified and cleanroom-free microfabrication procedure by using a digital micromirror device (DMD)-based system (Alvéole PRIMO) has been developed. By combining it with photoresist-coated glass coverslips, OoC and microfluidic devices can be rapidly prototyped with a turnaround time of 6-8 hours. Glass coverslips are coated with a photoresist, maskless photolithography is then performed using backside UV exposure, and subsequently, microstructures are developed. Finally, after soft lithography and chip assembly, hiPSC-derived cells can be cultured inside the chips. The researchers also demonstrated that multi-level structures can be produced and that grayscale photolithography is possible and enables control over microstructure height.
The approach enables rapid prototyping and microfabrication for labs that do not have access to cleanroom facilities. If necessary, finalized designs can be produced on a larger scale in cleanrooms.
Link to paper: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-666X/13/1/49
Dhanesh Kasi – NOCI PhD student at the LUMC