Microsyst Nanoeng. 2023 Sep 11;9:111. doi: 10.1038/s41378-023-00585-1. eCollection 2023.
Reconfigurable modular microfluidics presents an opportunity for flexibly constructing prototypes of advanced microfluidic systems. Nevertheless, the strategy of directly integrating modules cannot easily fulfill the requirements of common applications, e.g., the incorporation of materials with biochemical compatibility and optical transparency and the execution of small batch production of disposable chips for laboratory trials and initial tests. Here, we propose a manufacturing scheme inspired by the movable type printing technique to realize 3D free-assembly modular microfluidics. Double-layer 3D microfluidic structures can be produced by replicating the assembled molds. A library of modularized molds is presented for flow control, droplet generation and manipulation and cell trapping and coculture. In addition, a variety of modularized attachments, including valves, light sources and microscopic cameras, have been developed with the capability to be mounted onto chips on demand. Microfluidic systems, including those for concentration gradient generation, droplet-based microfluidics, cell trapping and drug screening, are demonstrated. This scheme enables rapid prototyping of microfluidic systems and construction of on-chip research platforms, with the intent of achieving high efficiency of proof-of-concept tests and small batch manufacturing.