Laser-Assisted Processing of Multilayer Films for Inexpensive and Flexible Biomedical Microsystems

Rahim Rahimi, Purdue University


Flexible/stretchable electronics offer ideal properties for emerging health monitoring devices that can seamlessly integrate with the soft, curvilinear, and dynamic surfaces of the human body. The resulting capabilities have allowed novel devices for monitoring physiological parameters, improving surgical procedures, and human-machine interfaces. While the attractiveness of these devices are indubitable, their fabrication by conventional cleanroom techniques makes them expensive and incompatible with rapid large-scale (e.g., roll-to-roll) production. The purpose of this research is to develop inexpensive fabrication technologies using low-cost commercial films such as polyimide, paper, and metalized paper that can be utilized for developing various flexible/stretchable physical and chemical sensors for wearable and lab-on-chip applications. The demonstrated techniques focus on an array of laser assisted surfaces modification and micromachining strategies with the two commonly used CO2 and Nd:YAG laser systems. The first section of this dissertation demonstrates the use of localized pulsed CO2 laser irradiation to selectively convert thermoset polymer films (e.g., polyimide) into electrically conductive highly porous carbon micro/nano structures. This process provides a unique and facile approach for direct writing of carbonized conductive patterns on flexible polyimide sheets in ambient conditions, eliminating complexities of current methods such as expensive CVD processes and complicated formulation/preparation of conductive carbon based inks used in inkjet printing. The highly porous laser carbonized layer can be transferred to stretchable elastomer or further functionalized with various chemical substances such as ionic solutions, nanoparticles, and chemically conductive polymers to create different mechanical and chemical sensors. The second section of this dissertation describes the use of laser ablation for selective removal of material from multilayer films such as ITO-coated PET, parchment paper, and metalized paper to create disposable diagnostic platforms and in-vitro models for lab-on-chip based studies. The ablated areas were analyzed using electrical, mechanical, and surface analysis tools to understand change in physical structure and chemical properties of the laser ablated films. As proof-of-concept demonstrations of these technologies, four different devices are presented here: mechanical, electrochemical, and environmental sensors along with an in-vitro cell culture platform. All four devices are designed, fabricated, and characterized to highlight the capability of commercial laser processing systems in the production of the next generation, low-cost and flexible biomedical devices.




Ziaie, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering|Electrical engineering

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