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Physics Lecture with Chris Hughes, Ph.D.

Join us as Prof. Chris Hughes from James Madison University discusses "Using Solvents to Improve the Adhesion of Auto Polymer Surfaces for Microfluidic Devices".

The polymer poly(methyl methacrylate), more commonly known as PMMA or acrylic, is an attractive material for the fabrication of microfluidic devices for bioanalytical purposes. PMMA offers high transparency, low cost, high chemical resistance without swelling, and low thermal processing for manufacturing. A desirable feature to incorporate into some devices is a thin film of metal such as gold for optical, electrical, or other properties. However, Au is unreactive and does not adhere well to the non-polar surface of PMMA.

We have tested several methods of increasing the adhesion of Au thin films and have found the introduction of halogenated polar solvents such as chloroform, CHCl_{3}, can greatly improve the fraction of Au that remains on the surface of PMMA in a standard tape test. Experiments were preformed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and mass spectroscopy to identify the mechanism of this effect. Furthermore, theoretical models were computed that matched the experimental observations.

The conclusion is that the chlorine from the CHCl3 forms and adduct with the oxygen atoms in the polymer and the incoming metal atoms to form a strong enough bond to hold the Au onto the surface of the PMMA. The possible uses of this discovery and its impact on planned devices will be discussed. Refreshments will be served in the Dana Lobby at 4 p.m. The lecture begins at 4:15 p.m.


Dana Science Classroom-146

Event Type



Fabros, Susan L