Recent developments in PDMS surface modification for microfluidic devices

Jinwen Zhou, Amanda Vera Ellis, Nicolas Hans Voelcker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

546 Citations (Scopus)


PDMS is enjoying continued and ever increasing popularity as the material of choice for microfluidic devices due to its low cost, ease of fabrication, oxygen permeability and optical transparency. However, PDMS's hydrophobicity and fast hydrophobic recovery after surface hydrophilization, attributed to its low glass transition temperature of less than -120°C, negatively impacts on the performance of PDMS-based microfluidic device components. This issue has spawned a flurry of research to devise longer lasting surface modifications of PDMS, with particular emphasis on microfluidic applications. This review will present recent research on surface modifications of PDMS using techniques ranging from metal layer coatings and layer-by-layer depositions to dynamic surfactant treatments and the adsorption of amphipathic proteins. We will also discuss significant advances that have been made with a broad palette of gas-phase processing methods including plasma processing, sol-gel coatings and chemical vapor deposition. Finally, we will present examples of applications and future prospects of modified PDMS surfaces in microfluidics, in areas such as molecular separations, cell culture in microchannels and biomolecular detection via immunoassays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-16
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Lab-on-a-chip
  • Microfluidic devices
  • Molecular separation
  • PDMS
  • Surface modification

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