Shallow Channels & Contaminants

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We are asked quite frequently to make very shallow microfluidic channels. However, the smallest that we can offer on a standard basis is a channel depth of 50 microns.

If you are inclined to go shallower, we can accommodate you on a custom basis. Our femtoEtch process can be used to create channels as shallow as 20 microns. However, we strongly caution you to consider blockage risks associated with shallow channels.

Particulates found in typical laboratoryParticulates found in typical laboratory

The air surrounding us is full of particles. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope. For instance, let’s take a typical office environment; in each cubic centimeter of air, there are 10 to 50 particles with a diameter greater than 5 microns. Even if you are extremely careful, sooner or later some of these particles will travel through your microfluidic device, and if its channels are too shallow (or too narrow), they will get blocked.

Cleaning a blocked shallow channel can be very difficult, or impossible in some cases. So, please keep in mind that when you order microfluidic chips with shallow channels, you may encounter blockage issues.

 

Air quality table for various cleanroom classesAir quality table for various cleanroom classes