New Valve and Bonding Designs for Microfluidic Biochips Containing Proteins
Two major concerns in the design and fabrication of microfluidic biochips are protein binding on the channel surface and protein denaturing during device assembly. In this paper, we describe new methods to solve these problems. A ?fishbone? microvalve design based on the concept of superhydrophobicity was developed to replace the capillary valve in applications where the chip surface requires protein blocking to prevent nonspecific binding. Our experimental results show that the valve functions well in a CD-like ELISA device. The packaging of biochips containing pre-loaded proteins is also a challenging task since conventional sealing methods often require the use of high temperatures, electric voltages, or organic solvents that are detrimental to the protein activity. Using CO2 gas to enhance the diffusion of polymer molecules near the device surface can result in good bonding at low temperatures and low pressure. This bonding method has little influence on the activity of the pre-loaded proteins after bonding.