One of the most promising applications for SLE is microfluidics. SLE-made surfaces can have relatively low surface roughness (~200 nm RMS). SLE technology far exceeds ablation in terms of flexibility and enables the production of 3D free-form structures, such as channels with integrated functional elements, or 3D channel systems embedded inside the volume of glass, bringing new capabilities and flexibility to the field. These properties make it possible to avoid other supplementary processes such as sealing ablated channels or the need to use other manufacturing techniques for integrating some more trivial structures. In this way, Tesla valve microfluidic channels can be fabricated inside the volume of glass. This microchannel design allows the liquid to flow in only one direction.
Femtosecond microfabrication technology is applied in microfluidics through 3D laser lithography and selective laser etching (SLE). 3D laser lithography is used to produce micro filters and sensors, while SLE enables the production of complex-shaped microfluidic channels out of fused silica glass with low surface roughness and high precision.
A feasibility study is composed of several steps, including researching methods for fabricating micro-structures, fabricating a micro-structure prototype, measuring and aligning the prototype with technical requirements, and finally preparing a study report.