A membrane architecture that facilitates access from both sides in microfluidic environments provides a flexible platform for the study of biosystems. Here, we report for the first time on a simple and low cost fabrication process via nanoimprint lithography (NIL) for a thin, fully released SU-8 membrane with perforated micro- and sub-micron pores and a modular microfluidic system integrated with the membrane. A modified NIL process which combines thermal and UV NIL was employed to define the pore structures in an SU-8 layer coated on a sacrificial layer. We have demonstrated the production of large area SU-8 membranes of as large as 4 inch diameter that are fully covered with perforated micropores. The released SU-8 membrane was easily integrated as a modular component into a microfluidic system by sandwiching the membrane between two microfluidic chips. Important aspects to reliably produce the membrane architecture such as materials selection and process conditions for fabrication are discussed. After demonstrating selective adsorption of lipid vesicles at the micropore sites of the SU-8 membrane, we have reconstituted lipid bilayers at the micropores within the microfluidic system following the method developed by Suzuki et al (2004 Lab Chip 4 502-5). This implies that the membrane architecture can potentially be used as a microfluidic platform with lipid bilayers that can sustain external mechanical stress for biophysical studies of membrane proteins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Mechanics of Materials
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials