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Monolithic digital patterning of polydimethylsiloxane with successive laser pyrolysis


The patterning of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) into complex two-dimensional (2D) or 3D shapes is a crucial step for diverse applications based on soft lithography. Nevertheless, mould replication that incorporates time-consuming and costly photolithography processes still remains the dominant technology in the field. Here we developed monolithic quasi-3D digital patterning of PDMS using laser pyrolysis. In contrast with conventional burning or laser ablation of transparent PDMS, which yields poor surface properties, our successive laser pyrolysis technique converts PDMS into easily removable silicon carbide via consecutive photothermal pyrolysis guided by a continuous-wave laser. We obtained high-quality 2D or 3D PDMS structures with complex patterning starting from a PDMS monolith in a remarkably low prototyping time (less than one hour). Moreover, we developed distinct microfluidic devices with elaborated channel architectures and a customizable organ-on-a-chip device using this approach, which showcases the potential of the successive laser pyrolysis technique for the fabrication of devices for several technological applications.

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Fig. 1: Mechanisms of two SLP process schemes.
Fig. 2: Quantitative analysis of SLP.
Fig. 3: Demonstrative fabrication of representative PDMS devices.
Fig. 4: Fabrication of a biocompatible organ-on-a-chip model by SLP.

Data availability

The authors declare that all data supporting the findings of this study are available within the main text and Supplementary Information. Source data for the figures are available at


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This work is supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded through the Basic Science Research Program (2017R1A2B3005706, 2018R1A2A1A05019550).

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Authors and Affiliations



J.S. and S.J. prepared the samples with the assistance of P.W., Y.L. and J.Kim. S.H. assisted in analysing the data and improving the discussion. J.Ko designed the biochip and conducted cell culture experiments. J.S. and S.H.K. developed the SLP concept and wrote the manuscript. N.L.J. and S.H.K. supervised the overall project. All the authors contributed to the discussion and preparation of the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Noo Li Jeon or Seung Hwan Ko.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Notes 1–11, Methods 1–3, Figs. 1–33, Tables 1–5 and refs 1–90.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Video 1

Initiation and progression.

Supplementary Video 2

Onset of pyrolysis.

Supplementary Video 3

SiC cleaning.

Supplementary Video 4

Demonstration: concentration gradient generator.

Supplementary Video 5

Demonstration: skin-on-a-chip.

Supplementary Video 6

Demonstration: perfusable cell-bed.

Supplementary Video 7

Demonstration: MN array mould.

Supplementary Video 8

Medium through-put manufacturing (vasculature-on-a-chip).

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Shin, J., Ko, J., Jeong, S. et al. Monolithic digital patterning of polydimethylsiloxane with successive laser pyrolysis. Nat. Mater. 20, 100–107 (2021).

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