Paul Yager Teaching
Bioengineering Department, Box 355061, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

Microfabrication and Microfluidics for Bioengineering Applications

Paul Yager

Class and Laboratory

Offered alternate years

This course is aimed at preparing graduate students to use 2- and 3-dimensional structures with features between 1 mm and 0.1 µm in their research with biomaterials complex liquids. (It may also be taken by advanced undergraduates with advance permission of the instructor.) It is best taken as part of a two-quarter sequence beginning with EE539 Introduction to Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) taught by Böhringer, which focuses on "dry" MEMS devices. However, EE539 is not a prerequisite. This course focuses on those aspects of microfabrication that are best suited to micropatterning of surfaces, BioMEMS, and microfluidic chemical analytical systems. Initial material reviews microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), fabrication techniques, microfluidic chemical analytical systems, and "soft lithography" through lectures and discussion of current literature. The 3 credit lecture course is open. The companion 1 credit companion laboratory course project is limited to 7 students. The purpose of the laboratory course is to learn (hands on!) how to prepare devices that will be immediately useful in the student's research. In the lab students will make etched silicon microstructures (or SU-8 structures, depending on shape requirements) to prepare polymeric replicas for use in micropatterning, micromolding or microfluidics.

The first of the meetings each week will be a formal introductory lecture by the main or guest lecturer. The second meetings will be broken into two approximately equal parts as follows:

1. Lecture.
2. Breaking up of the students into groups of 4 or 5 to informally discuss readings assigned in the previous lecture (see syllabus). Professor to float between groups to ensure that the discussions progress.

The "text" for this course will be the set of PowerPoint-based lecture notes by the professor. These will be placed on the course WWW site as soon as possible before that
day's lecture. All notes on the WWW site more than 1 week before class are to be considered tentative. Login name and password will be provided at the first lecture.

Student Participation:
Students will be expected to perform three sets of tasks during the course:
I. The first is active and informed participation in the Discussion sections. The reading material assigned during the previous class will be the topic for discussion, along with the relevant lecture materials. Failure to participate or to have read the material beforehand will result in the loss of credit.

II. Second, the research paper or papers assigned, then subsequently discussed in the Discussion section will be the topic of a 3 page (single spaced 12 point Times or equivalent) critique due at least 2 days after the discussion section. These critiques are to be sent to Yager electronically as Microsoft Word files as enclosures in e-mail, and are due electronically at 5 PM on the date shown on the syllabus. Discussion among students preparing these critiques is strongly encouraged, but the actual writing of each critique must be in the student's own words. Late critiques will be graded down by 50%, and critiques more than one week overdue will not be accepted. The critiques must address at least the following questions (unless the assignment states otherwise):

  1. A brief summary of the content of the paper(s) in your own words; how does the device or system work?
  2. Do the authors adequately address the problems inherent in the device of system described?
  3. Do the authors cover all the relevant literature up to the time of publication? (requires a literature search!)
  4. What applications could be foreseen for the device or system (if not already mentioned in the paper(s))?
  5. If there are more than one paper, compare and contrast the two approaches.

Writing must be in good formal (not colloquial) English, with attention paid to punctuation, grammar, etc. The weighting will be the following:

English writing and proofreading


Understanding of the paper(s)


Depth of research and coverage


Originality of ideas in interpretation


III. Third, there will be a take-home final examination. The exam will be handed out at the conclusion of the last class. It is due at 5 PM on the date assigned for the final examination for the class. Discussion or collaboration of the final examination among students is not permitted.




In Class Participation:
8 x (2 points) =


Written Critiques:
7 x (7 points) =


Final Examination:




The laboratory component of the class is separately graded pass/no pass. Laboratories will be held in the Fluke Hall Microfabrication Laboratory. Only students taking the lecture course for a grade will be allowed to take the laboratory.

For entry codes please see Isabel Landsberg 685-2022.

Tentative Schedule:

Lecture Topic
Project Assigned
In-Class Discus-sion
Project Due

January 3

Organization, Introduction




Project Definition

January 5

Introduction to MEMS





January 10

Classic Si micromachining

Paper Set 1



Device planning

January 12

Si Micromachined devices


Paper Set 1



January 17






January 19

Laboratory Safety--WTC Microfab Lab Guest lecturer



Paper 1


January 24

Microfab with unusual materials

Paper Set 2



Mask design

January 26

Laminate Fabrication


Paper Set 2



January 31

Soft Lithography Techniques

Paper Set 3


Paper 2

Design review, mask modification

February 2

Soft Lithography Applications


Paper Set 3



February 7


Paper Set 4


Paper 3

Mask printing

February 9

Microfluidics, including lift effects


Paper Set 4



February 14

Pumping&endash;Mechanical, Acoustic and Electroosmotic

Paper Set 5


Paper 4

Photoresist application and exposure

February 16

Monitoring Flow


Paper Set 5



February 21






February 23

Capillary electrophoresis on a chip



Paper 5

HF etch

February 28

Microfluidic Chemical Analytical Systems 2

Paper Set 6



EPW etching

March 1

Microfluidic Chemical Analytical Systems 2


Paper Set 6



March 6

MEMS-cell interactions

Paper Set 7


Paper 6

Preparation of PDMS, molding

March 8

MEMS sensors with live cells


Paper Set 7



March 13

MEMS in vivo and other topics we didn’t have time for before



Paper 7

Complete and document PDMS devices

March 15

Presentation of Student Projects

Take Home Exam





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Updated 08/08/04