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Karol Malecha, Jan Macioszczyk, Piotr Slobodzian and Jacek Sobkow
This paper aims to focus on the application of low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology in the fabrication of a microfluidic module with integrated microwave…
This paper aims to focus on the application of low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology in the fabrication of a microfluidic module with integrated microwave components. The design, technology and performance of such an LTCC-based module is investigated. The rapid heating of liquid samples on a microliter scale is shown to be possible with the use of microwaves.
The developed microwave-microfluidic module was fabricated using well-known LTCC technology. The finite element method was used to design the geometry of the microwave circuit. Various numerical simulations for different liquids were performed. Finally, the performance of the real LTCC-based microwave-microfluidic module was examined experimentally.
LTCC materials and technology can be used in the fabrication of microfluidic modules which use microwaves in the heating of the liquid sample. LTCC technology permits the fabrication of matching circuits with appropriate geometry, whereas microwave power can be used to heat up the liquid samples on a microliter scale.
The main limitation of the presented work is found to be in conjunction with LTCC technology. The dimensions and shape of the deposited conductors (e.g. microstrip line, matching circuit) depend on the screen-printing process. A line with resolution lower than 75 µm with well-defined edges is difficult to obtain. This can have an effect on the high-frequency properties of the LTCC modules.
The presented LTCC-based microfluidic module with integrated microwave circuits provides an opportunity for the further development of various micro-total analysis systems or lab-on-chips in which the rapid heating of liquid samples in low volumes is needed (e.g. miniature real-time polymerase chain reaction thermocycler).
Examples of the application of LTCC technology in the fabrication of microwave circuits and microfluidic systems can be found in the available literature. However, the LTCC-based module which combines microwave and microfluidic components has yet to have been reported. The preliminary work on the design, fabrication and properties of the LTCC microfluidic module with integrated microwave components is presented in this paper.