3D printed microfluidics: advances in strategies, integration, and applications

Ruitao Su, Fujun Wang, Michael C. McAlpine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The ability to construct multiplexed micro-systems for fluid regulation could substantially impact multiple fields, including chemistry, biology, biomedicine, tissue engineering, and soft robotics, among others. 3D printing is gaining traction as a compelling approach to fabricating microfluidic devices by providing unique capabilities, such as 1) rapid design iteration and prototyping, 2) the potential for automated manufacturing and alignment, 3) the incorporation of numerous classes of materials within a single platform, and 4) the integration of 3D microstructures with prefabricated devices, sensing arrays, and nonplanar substrates. However, to widely deploy 3D printed microfluidics at research and commercial scales, critical issues related to printing factors, device integration strategies, and incorporation of multiple functionalities require further development and optimization. In this review, we summarize important figures of merit of 3D printed microfluidics and inspect recent progress in the field, including ink properties, structural resolutions, and hierarchical levels of integration with functional platforms. Particularly, we highlight advances in microfluidic devices printed with thermosetting elastomers, printing methodologies with enhanced degrees of automation and resolution, and the direct printing of microfluidics on various 3D surfaces. The substantial progress in the performance and multifunctionality of 3D printed microfluidics suggests a rapidly approaching era in which these versatile devices could be untethered from microfabrication facilities and created on demand by users in arbitrary settings with minimal prior training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1279-1299
Number of pages21
JournalLab on a chip
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 8 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Effort for this review article was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant PHY-2020695. The authors would like to thank Dr. Ghazaleh Haghiashtiani for input related to material development and comments during the preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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