Optimizing polymer lab-on-chip platforms for ultrasonic manipulation: Influence of the substrate

Itziar González, María Tijero, Alain Martin, Victor Acosta, Javier Berganzo, Adela Castillejo, Mounir M. Bouali, Jose Luis Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The choice of substrate material in a chip that combines ultrasound with microfluidics for handling biological and synthetic microparticles can have a profound effect on the performance of the device. This is due to the high surface-to-volume ratio that exists within such small structures and acquires particular relevance in polymer-based resonators with 3D standing waves. This paper presents three chips developed to perform particle flow-through separation by ultrasound based on a polymeric SU-8 layer containing channelization over three different substrates: Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA); Pyrex; and a cracked PMMA composite-like structure. Through direct observations of polystyrene microbeads inside the channel, the three checked chips exhibit their potential as disposable continuous concentration devices with different spatial pressure patterns at frequencies of resonance close to 1 Mhz. Chips with Pyrex and cracked PMMA substrates show restrictions on the number of pressure nodes established in the channel associated with the inhibition of 3D modes in the solid structure. The glass-substrate chip presents some advantages associated with lower energy requirements to collect particles. According to the results, the use of polymer-based chips with rigid substrates can be advantageous for applications that require short treatment times (clinical tests handling human samples) and low-cost fabrication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-591
Number of pages18
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Acoustic tweezers
  • Lab-on-chip
  • Microfluidics
  • Particle enrichment
  • Particle separation
  • Polymeric resonators
  • Structure-fluid interactions
  • Ultrasonic manipulation


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