Three-dimensional (3D) micro/nanofluidic devices can accelerate progress in numerous fields such as tissue engineering, drug delivery, self-healing and cooling devices. However, efficient connections between networks of micro/nanochannels and external fluidic ports are key to successful applications of 3D micro/nanofluidic devices. Therefore, in this work, the extent of the role of reservoir geometry in interfacing with vascular (micro/nanochannel) networks, and in the enabling of connections with external fluidic ports while maintaining the compactness of devices, has been experimentally and theoretically investigated. A statistical modelling suggested that a branch-shaped reservoir demonstrates enhanced interfacing with vascular networks when compared to other regular geometries of reservoirs. Time-lapse dye flow experiments by capillary action through fabricated 3D micro/nanofluidic devices confirmed the connectivity of branch-shaped reservoirs with micro/nanochannel networks in fluidic devices. This demonstrated a ∼2.2-fold enhancement of the volumetric flow rate in micro/nanofluidic networks when interfaced to branch-shaped reservoirs over rectangular reservoirs. The enhancement is due to a ∼2.8-fold increase in the perimeter of the reservoirs. In addition, the mass transfer experiments exhibited a ∼1.7-fold enhancement in solute flux across 3D micro/nanofluidic devices that interfaced with branch-shaped reservoirs when compared to rectangular reservoirs. The fabrication of 3D micro/nanofluidic devices and their efficient interfacing through branch-shaped reservoirs to an external fluidic port can potentially enable their use in complex applications, in which enhanced surface-to-volume interactions are desirable.
- 3D micro/nanofluidic