Lab Chip 17 (21) 3672-3681 [2017-10-25; online 2017-10-05]
One way to improve the sensitivity and throughput of miniaturized biomolecular assays is to integrate microfluidics to enhance the transport efficiency of biomolecules to the reaction sites. Such microfluidic integration requires bonding of a prefabricated microfluidic gasket to an assay surface without destroying its biological activity. In this paper we address the largely unmet challenge to accomplish a proper seal between a microfluidic gasket and a protein surface, with maintained biological activity and without contaminating the surface or blocking the microfluidic channels. We introduce a novel dual cure polymer resin for the formation of microfluidic gaskets that can be room-temperature bonded to a range of substrates using only UVA light. This polymer is the first polymer that features over a month of shelf life between the structure formation and the bonding, moreover the fully cured polymer gaskets feature the following set of properties suitable for microfluidics: high stiffness, which prevents microfluidic channel collapse during handling; very limited absorption of biomolecules; and no significant leaching of uncured monomers. We describe the novel polymer resin and its characteristics, study through FT-IR, and demonstrate its use as microfluidic well-arrays bonded onto protein array slides at room temperature followed by multiplexed immunoassays. The results confirm maintained biological activity and show high repeatability between protein arrays. This new approach for integrating microfluidic gaskets to biofunctionalised surfaces has the potential to improve sample throughput and decrease manufacturing costs for miniaturized biomolecular systems.