“Lab on Chip” Device System with a Magnetic Clamp for Sealing Microfluidic Chips Against Wet Surfaces

Microfluidic devices with microchannel chips made of flexible materials, such as PDMS, are now widely used in biomedical research and find some applications in clinical assays. A standard device is comprised of a molded chip with microchannels engraved on its surface and a microscope cover glass that is bonded to the engraved surface of the chip to seal the microchannels. However, the loading of cells into a microfluidic device can be a delicate task, especially if the cell stock is small as cells are sensitive to hydrodynamic stresses, or if a particular cell density on the cover glass needs to be reached. The two main techniques that have been proposed to seal PDMS microchannel chips against wet cell culture-coated cover glasses are mechanical clamping and vacuum suction. However, mechanical clamps can substantially deform the microchannels of the PDMS chip, while the application of vacuum might cause changes in the gas content of the wet channel medium over time. Hence, both methods induce significant changes to the experimental setup that are difficult to detect and quantify. University of California, San Diego Office of Innovation and Commercialization licensing@ucsd.edu 858.534.5815

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