Microfluidics, a technology characterized by the engineered manipulation of fluids at the sub-millimetric scale, has shown considerable promise for improving diagnostics and biology research. Certain properties of microfluidic technologies, such as rapid sample processing and the precise control of fluids in an assay, have made them attractive candidates to replace traditional experimental approaches.
The fabrication of large numbers of inexpensive and disposable lab-on-a-chip devices has proven to be challenging since it involves scales that are in-between the few micrometer range for surface finishing and cell interacting objects and the few millimeter range for pipes interconnections and mountings for analysis systems. These scales are below the reach of traditional removal mechanical tools and above the traditional lithography based micro-fabrication technologies. Micro additive manufacturing falls within these ranges of dimensions and may be used to directly fabricate metal dies for injection moldings.