Titanium–aluminum–polytetrafluoroethylene coated stainless steel micromold via co-sputtering deposition : replication performance and limitation in hot-embossing
Tor, Shu Beng
Hardt, David E.
Chun, Jung H.
Date of Issue2012
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Singapore-MIT Alliance Programme
Stainless steel micromold is an alternative of silicon (Si) micromold in the fabrication of polymeric microfluidic devices because of the brittleness and short lifetime of Si mold. High adhesion and friction of stainless steel micromold can cause the distortion of the microstructures of polymeric products. In this work, titanium (Ti), aluminum (Al) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) were co-sputter deposited on stainless steel micromolds to improve their surface properties. The sputtering power applied to the PTFE target was varied to control the PTFE concentration in the Ti–Al–PTFE coatings, which affected the bonding structure, surface roughness, friction and contact angle of coatings characterized using micro-Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), confocal microscopy, ball-on-disc tribometer and goniometer, respectively. It was observed that the Ti–Al–PTFE coatings were a mixture of carbide, PTFE-like material and amorphous carbon. The surface roughness of coated micromolds decreased with the increase in the PTFE concentration. The Ti–Al–PTFE coating deposited with 50 W sputtering power on the PTFE target showed the lowest friction coefficient and surface energy of about 0.17 and 13.1 × 10−3 N/m, respectively. The coated stainless steel micromolds showed a better replication performance compared to the bare stainless steel micromolds in terms of the quality of polymeric microfluidic devices fabricated using hot embossing process. This work also investigated the coating properties at the sidewalls of the micromold channels and the limitations of the Ti–Al–PTFE coatings for application in hot-embossing.
Sensors and actuators B: chemical
© 2012 Elsevier B.V.