May 9, 2013

Miniature stick-packaging – an industrial technology for pre-storage and release of reagents in lab-on-a-chip systems

Thomas van Oordt, Yannick Barb, Jan Smetana, Roland Zengerle, Felix von Stetten

First published: 09 May 2013


Stick-packaging of goods in tubular-shaped composite-foil pouches has become a popular technology for food and drug packaging. We miniaturized stick-packaging for use in lab-on-a-chip (LOAC) systems to pre-store and on-demand release the liquid and dry reagents in a volume range of 80–500 μl. An integrated frangible seal enables the pressure-controlled release of reagents and simplifies the layout of LOAC systems, thereby making the package a functional microfluidic release unit. The frangible seal is adjusted to defined burst pressures ranging from 20 to 140 kPa. The applied ultrasonic welding process allows the packaging of temperature sensitive reagents. Stick-packs have been successfully tested applying recovery tests (where 99% (STDV = 1%) of 250 μl pre-stored liquid is released), long-term storage tests (where there is loss of only <0.5% for simulated 2 years) and air transport simulation tests. The developed technology enables the storage of a combination of liquid and dry reagents. It is a scalable technology suitable for rapid prototyping and low-cost mass production.