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Dry film photoresists are widely employed to fabricate high-aspect-ratio microstructures, such as molds for microfluidic devices. Unlike liquid resists, such as SU-8, dry films do not require a cleanroom facility, and it is straightforward to prepare uniform and reproducible films as thick as 500 µm. Multilayer patterning, however, can be problematic with dry film resists even though it is critical for a number of microfluidic devices. Layer-to-layer mask alignment typically requires the first layer to be fully developed, making the pattern visible, before applying and patterning the second layer. While a liquid resist can flow over the topography of previous layers, this is not the case with dry film lamination. We found that post-exposure baking of dry film photoresists can preserve a flat topography while revealing an image of the patterned features that is suitable for alignment to the next layer. We demonstrate the use of this technique with two different types of dry film resist to fabricate master molds for a hydrophoresis size-sorting device and a cell chemotaxis device.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.