Exploiting Direct Laser Writing for Hydrogel Integration into Fragile Microelectromechanical Systems.


Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, Chair of Separation Science and Technology, TU Kaiserslautern, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany. [Email]


The integration of chemo-responsive hydrogels into fragile microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) with reflective surfaces in the micron to submicron range is presented. Direct laser writing (DLW) for 3D microstructuring of chemoresponsive "smart" hydrogels on sensitive microstructures is demonstrated and discussed in detail, by production of thin hydrogel layers and discs with a controllable lateral size of 2 to 5 µm and a thickness of some hundred nm. Screening results of polymerizing laser settings for precision microstructuring were determined by controlling crosslinking and limiting active chain diffusion during polymerization with macromers. Macromers are linear polymers with a tunable amount of multifunctional crosslinker moieties, giving access to a broad range of different responsive hydrogels. To demonstrate integration into fragile MEMS, the gel was deposited by DLW onto a resonator with a 200 nm thick sensing plate with high precision. To demonstrate the applicability for sensors, proof of concept measurements were performed. The polymer composition was optimized to produce thin reproducible layers and the feasibility of 3D structures with the same approach is demonstrated.


direct laser writing,hydrogel microstructuring,liquid sensing,multiphoton lithography,responsive hydrogels,soft materials,

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