Microfluidics

We develop automated, microfluidics-based instruments for biological research in collaboration with LBNL and external researchers.

The LBNL Microfluidics Laboratory was established in May 2008 by Rafael Gómez-Sjöberg, within the Center for Systems Biology Engineering (Engineering Division) to develop automated, microfluidics-based instrumentation in collaboration with LBNL and external researchers. In October 2012, Rafael Gómez-Sjöberg left LBNL to become Principal Engineer at Quanticel Pharmaceuticals, and Antoine Masson now manages the Microfluidics Lab.

whole-chip_1Within lab space in building 70A, shared with the Semiconductor Detector Group, we are fully equipped to fabricate poly(dimethyl siloxane)-based (PDMS) microfluidic devices using the technique of Multi-layer Soft Lith
ography (MSL), and also own or have easy access to additional e
uipment needed to fabricate silicon, glass-based, glass/elastomer hybrid, and plastic microfluidic devices.

 BeadSynthesizer
For PDMS-based fabrication, the laboratory has a 6-foot laminar flow hood for dust-free work, automated PDMS mixer, PDMS spin coater, thermal curing oven, PDMS degasser/debubbler, plasma cleaner/etcher, in/out hole puncher, and a stereo microscope for layer-layer alignment. A benchtop computer-controlled milling machine (capable of drilling glass plates), a UV curing oven, and programmable hotplates are also available for glass- and polymer-based fabrication of microfluidic structures.  A 2200 sq. ft. cleanroom is equipped with a photolithography station for creating the PDMS molding masters, chemical hoods where glass-based microfluidics can be created by acid etching, and evaporators for creating thin metal films for electrode and mask patterning. Other available equipment includes glass polishers and lappers, and ultrasonic drillers.
The laboratory has a fully automated platform especially suited to testing microfluidic devices for biological applications. The station is based on a fully-automated Leica DMI6000B inverted microscope with motorized X-Y-Z stage and epifluorescence imaging capabilities, plus a temperature-controlled incubation chamber, and atmospheric control to adjust the concentrations of CO2 and O2 flowing over the culture devices. Custom-written software and a dedicated computer permit the automation of most aspects of an experiment.

 

The Microfluidics Lab at LBL is fully equipped to fabricate a variety of microfluidic devices from various materials including PDMS, silicon, glass, and plastic. We specialize in multilayer soft lithography (MSL) microfluidic devices with integrated valves.

The laboratory has a 6-foot laminar flow hood for dust-free work, automated PDMS mixer, spin coater, thermal curing oven, degasser/debubbler, plasma oven, hole puncher, and a stereo microscope for layer-layer alignment.  A cleanroom is equipped with photolithography equipiment for creating the PDMS molding masters, chemical hoods where glass-based microfluidics can be created by acid etching, and evaporators for creating thin metal films for electrode and mask patterning.  A benchtop computer-controlled milling machine (capable of drilling glass plates), a UV curing oven, and programmable hotplates are also available for glass- and polymer-based fabrication of microfluidic structures.
 
Experiments are performed on a fully automated microscope especially suited to testing microfluidic devices for biological applications. The station is based on a fully-automated Leica DMI6000B inverted epifluorescence microscope with motorized XYZ stage, temperature-controlled incubation chamber, and atmospheric control to adjust the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and O2. Custom-written software and a dedicated computer permit automation of most aspects of an experiment.