Flexdym™ polymer technology, an alternative to PDMS

Microfabrication

Flexdym™ polymer technology, an alternative to PDMS



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Flexdym™ is a new patented polymer used for chip microfabrication as an alternative to PDMS. This biocompatible technology (certified ISO 10993-5 & UPS Class VI) allows to fabricate a chip in only one minute at prices way lower than any other technology! Self-sealing, Flexdym™ eliminates the tedious sealing step of PDMS chips fabrication and ease connections to input and output tubings.

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Flexdym is a new patented polymer used for chip microfabrication as an alternative to PDMS. This biocompatible technology (certified ISO 10993-5 & UPS Class VI) allows to fabricate a chip in only one minute at prices way lower than any other technology! Self-sealing, Flexdym™ eliminates the tedious sealing step of PDMS chips fabrication and ease connections to input and output tubings.

Next generation materials for microfluidic and polymeric MEMS for research and industry

Manufacture your microfluidic chips in a minute

Biocompatible certification 

Scalable process adapted for prototyping and industrial production

Accelerate your research and industrialization cycles

Rapid microfabrication

Our polymers feature extremely low viscosity for rapid thermal molding with filling rates up to 100-1000 times greater than classical rigid thermoplastics (COC, PS, PMMA,…). Our UPSClass VI/ISO 10993-5 approved polymer technology based on nanoblocks copolymer chemistry allows rapid sealing onto various substrate up to 5 bar loading pressure. 3D, multi-layered and large microstructured polymer sheets (up to 8 inches) are easily assembled without structural deformation and use of equipment.

Effective integration, cellular and bio-reagents 

Our polymers’ high sealing performance enables the integration of cells, proteins  and others enzymes biomaterials prior to assembly. With a fabrication process that doesn’t involve plasma, vacuum or high-temperature, we can ensure that biological agents remain viable and functional in your device.

Broadly effective at R&D and Industrial scale

Flexdym™ polymer can be molded with our traditional hot-embossing system or in your fume hood with cost-effective, user-friendly and compact Sublym™  microfabrication kit.We can also support further developments (clinical trials, industrials integration) by providing rolls and polymers pellets for injection, IR, and R2R molding.

FlexDym polymer, an alternative to PDMS chips 

The FlexDym polymer is designed to offer an alternative to PDMS chips microfabrication. Here are the main strengths of this technology:

  • Biocompatible: ISO 10993-5 & UPS Class VI certifications. No gloves or safety equipment needed to manipulate it.
  • Rapid thermal molding: low viscosity with filling rates up to 100-1000 times greater than other thermoplastics (COS, PS, PMMA...).
  • Fast and high performance self-sealing: nanoblocks copolymer technology, resists to a loading pressure up to 5 bar.
  • Compatible for optical assays: low fluorescence, optically clear.
  • No absorption, permeable to gas and not to liquid.
  • Versatile: Easy to connect with self-sealing ports for different tubing dimensions.

An adapted material for soft-lithography

Flexdym has the advantages of PDMS without its drawbacks. With just a hot plate and and a vacuum heat press, your chip is ready in one minute and you avoid all the tedious process of microfabrication with PDMS.

  • Scalable: Flexdym molding requires common industrial processes and can be easily transferable to larger production.
    • Cost-effective: Better performances than the actual chips for a better price.
    • Resistant to tearing: Unlike PDMS, a Flexdym chip will not tear apart when you manipulate it.
    • Accurate: Microchannels width down to 50 nm.

      Applications

      Flexdym is an alternative to any other chip material in the classical applications of microfluidic chips: droplet generators, flow cells, micromixers, organ-on-a-chip...

      This polymer is particularly interesting in life sciences: its biocompatibility make it simple to design any experiment involving cells, proteins or other biomaterials even prior assembly! The self-sealing technology is not destructive, unlike plasma, vacuum or high temperature used in the sealing of other chips.

      See our Flexdym™ custom chip page for more informations!

       

       

        

      Flexdym is a real breakthrough for microfluidics, and as a forward-thinking company we want to bring this technology to your lab.

      Contact us to be a part of it.

       Flexdym sheet dimensions 150 x 150 mm
      Thickness 300 µm / 750 µm / 1.3 mm
      Hardness Shore A 35
      Specific Gravity 0.9 g/cm3
      Tear Strength 15 kN/m
      Tensile Strength 7.6 kN/m
      Elongation 720%
      Molding Temperature 115-185 °C
      Molding Pressure 35 Torr

       

      • Do I need a heat press for FlexdymTM

      Yes, most heat presses or hot-embossers should work. A press that can mold at a pressure of at least 7 psi or above is ideal (a vacuum assisted press is not required). You may have to make small adjustments to optimize molding your chips. We offer a compact microfabrication kit, user friendly and plug and play system. Contact us for more informations.

       

      •  What size range is reliably micromolded with FlexdymTM?
      The minimal microchannel width is 50 nm, and the depth range is 50 nm - 1 mm. However, microchannels between 1 µm and 1 mm are recommended with an aspect ratio (height to width) of 3:1 or less. Submicron structures and higher aspect ratios have also been achieved by some customers.
      • Which mold does FlexdymTM work best with?
      Common molds used in the field of microfluidics work well. These include fragile molds, such as photoresists (e.g. SU‒8), and etched glass and silicon molds. Temperature resistant epoxy molds and traditional metallic molds (aluminum, nickel, brass molds) work also. Silicones such as PDMS work as well, however, be sure to choose a stiff silicone grade at least 20 Shore A durometers above FlexdymTM . We offer EPMO epoxy material to fabricate robust mold suited (up to 6’’ size) for FlexdymTM molding without the needs to treat it with anti-sticking agent.
      • How do I clean FlexdymTM?
      Isopropyl alcohol, methanol or distilled water may be used. FlexdymTM has to be dry (air or oven dried) before molding to avoid bubbling or splays (cloudiness). Tape is also recommended to remove dust particles. We recommend working with FlexdymTM in a clean room or under a laminar hood to minimize particle contamination.
      • Is the FlexdymTM appropriate for my fluorescence applications?
      FlexdymTM material is a transparent material and has a transmittance of 50% at 295 nm and upon 90% in the visible region.
      • How do I mold FlexdymTM as transparent as possible ?
      We recommend molding FlexdymTM using a very smooth mold. Metallic molds should have a mirror finish. Using glass or other transparent molds, such as epoxy or other silicones will ensure a more transparent result.
      • Why do I keep getting tiny bubbles in the plastic when I mold FlexdymTM
      Your setup is likely too hot or FlexdymTM is not completely dry. Lower the temperature, decrease molding time, air/oven dry FlexdymTM, or perform molding in a low humidity condition to minimize bubbling. It may take some trial to optimize micromolding with FlexdymTM on your own setup.
      • What is the most effective way to sterilize FlexdymTM?
      Ethylene oxide, gamma irradiation or autoclave will work.
      • Is FlexdymTM microfluidic chips used for cell culture?
      While FlexdymTM is less permeable than PDMS, it still has sufficient air permeability to sustain cell cultures. FlexdymTM grades have successfully been used for neurons, hepatocytes, endothelial, dermal, stem-cells and IPSCs cells cultures among others. FlexdymTM is UPS Class VI and ISO 10993-5 biocompatible certified material (PVC, Latex and others phthalates free).
      • How do I seal FlexdymTM microchannels to a substrate?
      FlexdymTM is a self-sealing material that you can bond with usual microfluidics thermoplastics and materials such as PC, POC, PS, PP or glass, Si. The bonding process does not require plasma assisted or UV adhesive processes. It can be bonded at room temperature. To reduce the time of bonding and/or to improve the bonding strength, a thermal bonding process can be used (maximum 90°C). Customers have successfully sealed FlexdymTM by binding it to a substrate and storing the chip in an oven for minutes to overnight.
      • How do I control the hydrophilicity of FlexdymTM surfaces?
      In its pristine state, FlexdymTM is slightly hydrophobic. To achieve stable hydrophilic surfaces strategies that have been used on hard plastics can also be applied to FlexdymTM surfaces. These strategies include plasma treatment or coatings with hydrophilic materials, such as poly (vinyl alcohol), polyurethane, polyacrylate, (hydroxypropyl) methyl cellulose, polyvinylpyrrolidone, or hyaluronic acid. Multiple vendors offer hydrophilic coatings through licensing models or outsourcing. Key points to consider are the cost structure, the type of coating, the coating application (e.g. dip, spray, spin, film coats), any curing step (e.g. UV or heat), and any post-processing steps (e.g. sterilization, cleaning, or storage conditions) that may affect your final chip.
      • How do I create inlet and outlet holes for my microfluidic channels?
      Traditional biopsy punches used with silicones will not work here. The use of a rotary/hand punch or a laser cutter is recommended. Self-sealing connection pads have been developed and ensure easy and leak-free connections with any tubing.
      • How do I prevent nonspecific binding?
      Methods traditionally used to treat hard plastics generally work with FlexdymTM as well. For example, coating the surfaces with animal caseins or BSA (bovine serum albumin) has been used with success.

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