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The utilization of LTCC-PDMS bonding technology for microfluidic system applications – a simple fluorescent sensor

Karol Malecha (Faculty of Microsystem Electronics and Photonics, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Wrocław, Poland)

Microelectronics International

ISSN: 1356-5362

Article publication date: 1 August 2016




This paper aims to present a research on utilization of an irreversible bonding between non-transparent low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) and transparent poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). The research presented in this paper is focused on the technology and performance of the miniature microfluidic module for fluorescence measurement.


The chemical combination of both materials is achieved through surface modification using argon-oxygen dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma. According to the performed spectroscopic analyses (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, XPS; attenuated total reflection-Fourier infrared spectroscopy, ATR-FTIR) and contact angle measurements, the LTCC and PDMS surfaces are oxidized during the process. The presented microfluidic module was fabricated using LTCC technology. The possibility for the fabrication of LTCC-PDMS microfluidic fluorescent sensor is studied. The performance of the sensor was examined experimentally.


As a result of DBD plasma oxidation, the LTCC and PDMS surfaces change in character from hydrophobic to hydrophilic and were permanently bonded. The presented LTCC-PDMS bonding technique was used to fabricate a microfluidic fluorescent sensor. The preliminary measurements of the sensor have proven that it is possible to observe the fluorescence of a liquid sample from a very small volume.

Research limitations/implications

The presented research is a preliminary work which is focused on the fabrication of the LTCC-PDMS fluorescent sensor. The microfluidic device was positively tested only for ethanolic fluorescein solutions. Therefore, fluorescence measurements should be performed for biological specimen (e.g. DNA).

Practical implications

The LTCC-PDMS bonding technology combines the advantages of both materials. One the one hand, transparent PDMS with precise, transparent three-dimensional structures can be fabricated using hot embossing, soft lithography or laser ablation. On the other hand, rigid LTCC substrate consisting of microfluidic structures, electric interconnections, heaters and optoelectronic components can be fabricated. The development of the LTCC-PDMS microfluidic modules provides opportunity for the construction of a lab-on-chip, or micro-total analysis systems-type system, for analytical chemistry and fast medical diagnoses.


This paper shows utilization of the PDMS-LTCC bonding technology for microfluidics. Moreover, the design, fabrication and performance of the PDMS-LTCC fluorescent sensor are presented.



This research was financed by National Science Centre (DEC-2013/09/D/ST7/03953).


Malecha, K. (2016), "The utilization of LTCC-PDMS bonding technology for microfluidic system applications – a simple fluorescent sensor", Microelectronics International, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 141-148.



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