Blister-Actuated LIFT Printing for Multiparametric Functionalization of Paper-Like Biosensors.
Laser induced forward transfer (LIFT) is a flexible digital printing process for maskless, selective pattern transfer, which uses single laser pulses focused through a transparent carrier substrate onto a donor layer to eject a tiny volume of the donor material towards a receiver substrate. Here, we present an advanced method for the high-resolution micro printing of bio-active detection chemicals diluted in a viscous buffer solution by transferring droplets with precisely controllable volumes using blister-actuated LIFT (BA-LIFT). This variant of the LIFT process makes use of an intermediate polyimide layer partially ablated by the laser pulses. The expanding gaseous ablation products lead to blisters in the polyimide and ejection of droplets from the subjacent viscous solution layer. A relative movement of donor and receiver substrates for the transfer of partially overlapping pixels is realized with a custom-made positioning system. Using a specially developed donor ink containing bio-active components presented method allows to transfer droplets with well controllable volumes between 20 fL and 6 pL, which is far more precise than other methods like inkjet or contact printing. The usefulness of the process is demonstrated by locally functionalizing laser-structured nitrocellulose paper-like membranes to form a multiparametric lateral flow test. The recognition zones localized within parallel micro channels exhibit a well-defined and homogeneous color change free of coffee-ring patterns, which is of utmost importance for reliable optical readout in miniature multiparametric test systems.