Located in room 9-401 of the Toronto Medical Discovery Tower (TMDT) – the T. Robert Beamish Convergence Centre of Medical Discovery, was initially funded through a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Grant awarded to Dr. Linda Penn and Dr. Jim Woodgett. The facility was initially earmarked as a general lab space, however, was later transformed into a research space for microfabrication design and innovation.
The facility offers unique capabilities for prototyping and microfabrication of polymer based lab-on-a-chip devices spread over 1,400 square feet of cleanroom space. These capabilities include photolithography, wet chemistry, hot embossing, electroplating and substrate bonding. Equipment and tools available in the two cleanrooms, ISO 6 and ISO 7 standards, are intended to be complementary to those available at the cleanroom network at the University of Toronto.
The centre works closely with academics from research institutes and universities along with industry partners. It is open to users from the UHN, University of Toronto or other universities as well as industry. By being accessible to multiple groups and disciplines, an atmosphere of collaborative research with a focus on developing micro/nano technologies for biomedical applications and healthcare is envisioned.
The main aim of the facility is to provide research tools to academics and industry partners which will enable advancement of microfabrication and microfluidics research. Currently, Dr.Lothar Lilge oversees the centre while Duoaud Shah is responsible for day to day operations and renders assistance to users. The facility as a whole falls under the purview of Techna.
The system provides users with maximum flexibility in the high precision moulding of polymer parts with dimensions of micro and nanometers with high aspect ratios. Due to its fast embossing time, high throughput capabilities are available for applications such as optical gratings and microfluidic chips for biomedical applications. The HEX-02 is fully automated and comes with powerful operational software.
The system enables high precision, quick turnaround maskless photoresist patterning with features as small as 1µm without the need for costly photomasks. Standard wavelength energies for compatibility with most commercial photoresists and polyimides are available with wavelengths selection possible via a 6 position filter wheel. Full automation and control software, coupled with a vibration isolation table ensures repeatability and consistency.
The system offers simple and precise photopolymerization of various photoresists at standard wavelengths using flood exposure. A highly collimated and uniform beam ensures maximum repeatability with the system housed on a vibration dampening optical table. The mask aligner comes with a stereo zoom microscope with an X-Y-Z positioning mount and an illumination source for the substrate and mask. It permits rapid scanning and magnification up to 90X.