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Solvent Compatibility of Poly(dimethylsiloxane)-Based Microfluidic Devices

This paper describes the compatibility of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) with organic solvents; this compatibility is important in considering the potential of PDMS-based microfluidic devices in a number of applications, including that of microreactors for organic reactions. We considered three aspects of compatibility: the swelling of PDMS in a solvent, the partitioning of solutes between a solvent and PDMS, and the dissolution of PDMS oligomers in a solvent. Of these three parameters that determine the compatibility of PDMS with a solvent, the swelling of PDMS had the greatest influence. Experimental measurements of swelling were correlated with the solubility parameter, ä (cal1/2 cm-3/2), which is based on the cohesive energy densities, c (cal/cm3), of the materials. Solvents that swelled PDMS the least included water, nitromethane, dimethyl sulfoxide, ethylene glycol, perfluorotributylamine, perfluorodecalin, acetonitrile, and propylene carbonate; solvents that swelled PDMS the most were diisopropylamine, triethylamine, pentane, and xylenes. Highly swelling solvents were useful for extracting contaminants from bulk PDMS and for changing the surface properties of PDMS. The feasibility of performing organic reactions in PDMS was demonstrated by performing a Diels-Alder reaction in a microchannel.

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