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LTCC Based Microfluidic Structures for the Controlled Synthesis of Antioxidant Polmerys
Keywords: Low Temperature Cofired Ceramics, Microfluidics, Biomedical Device
Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) based microfluidic structures have been design and applied to the controlled polymerization of a new type of biomaterial, antioxidant polymers. While it is thought that biodegradable polymers (e.g., poly(lactic acid)) can evade long term biocompatibility concerns through degradation, recent studies have found that the local accumulation of degradable byproducts can trigger radical forming, oxidation mediated tissue injury (Jiang et. al., 2007). Our focus is in the synthesis of polymers composed of naturally derived antioxidants (e.g., the Vitamin E analogue, Trolox). Trolox can theoretically attenuate or prevent this material induced oxidative stress mechanism and site inflammation by providing slow antioxidant release. Despite success with the synthesis of oligio fragments (5-7 mers) of trolox, the synthesis of longer chain polymers has represented a significant technological challenge. The current paper will focus on the fabrication and design of LTCC based microfluidic reactor modules and flow conditions required to provide improved control the trolox polymerization process. Microfluidic channels have been fabricated using commercial LTCC materials and traditional LTCC processing technologies. Patterning of channels has been conducted using CNC micromilling and laser ablation tools. The application of computer assisted LTCC fabrication technologies has allowed a large degree of design flexibility and the rapid deployment of reactor design revisions. The proposed reactor utilizes three streams of co-laminar flow to allow for the controlled introduction of monomer and condensation pairs into the reaction stream. Reactor design and flow conditions have been refined to provide an improved method for control of the degree of polymerization and polydispersity in the product stream. This work demonstrates the inherent advantages of microfluidic based synthesis techniques for the production of highly customized polymeric materials.
Richard E. Eitel, Assistant Professor
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY

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