A direct write technique has the potential for replacing the lithographic process used for fabricating micro-fluidic channels and expedite the field of “Lab on the Chip”. This paper describes a direct write laser technology, which is fast and flexible, for fabricating multiple-level microfluidic channels. A high brightness diode-pumped Nd-YAG laser with slab geometry was used for its excellent beam quality. Channels with flat walls and staggered herringbone ridges on the floor have been successfully fabricated and their ability to perform passive mixing of liquid is discussed. Also, a multi-width multi-depth microchannel has been fabricated to generate biomimetic vasculatures whose channel diameters change according to Murray’s law, which states that the cube of the radius of a parent vessel equals the sum of the cubes of the radii of the daughters. The multi-depth architecture allows for flow patterns to resemble physiological vascular systems with lower overall resistance and more uniform flow velocities throughout the network compared to planar patterning techniques which generate uniformly thin channels. The ability to directly fabricate multiple level structures using relatively straightforward laser technology enhances our ability to rapidly prototype complex lab-on-a-chip systems and to develop physiological microfluidic structures for tissue engineering and investigations in biomedical fluidics problems.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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