Our technologies

Microscale thermoforming or microthermoforming

Microthermoforming is the abbreviation for microscopic or microscale thermoforming, or, more precisely, for thermoforming of microproducts or microstructure products. Microstructure products means products that have structures in the micrometer range and have their technical function provided by the shape of the microstructure. Thermoforming in turn means shaping of heated and therefore softened semi finished products in the form of thermoplastic polymer films or plates with their edges fixed by three-dimensional stretching. Shaping is carried out mainly by forming the films or plates into female moulds (negative forming) or over male moulds (positive forming). While the other polymer microreplication processes such as micro injection moulding or (vacuum) hot embossing are primary forming processes where forming occurs already in a molten, liquid phase of the heated polymer material, microthermoforming is a secondary forming process where forming occurs in a strongly softened, but still solid phase of the heated polymer.


SMART Substrate Modification And Replication by Thermoforming

SMART is a technology based on microthermoforming. Typically, it is a three step process. In a first process step, the still planar polymer film is (locally) modified. The planarity of the substrate in this step allows to obtain high resolution patterns. In the second step, the pre-modified polymer film is three-dimensional stretched in a microthermoforming process. Because of the mild forming conditions and the permanent material cohesion, the material modifications/patterns are preserved. In the final step, the pre-modified film microstructures can be further modified. Here, isotropic material modification techniques are typically applied. Taking advantage of the pre-modified patterns, a site-selective modification/functionalization of the 3D film-based microstructure is feasible, e.g. coupling of heat sensitive (bio-)molecules to specific domains or etching of predefined latent swift heavy ion tracks to create pores.    



Ultraprecision Machining

Ultraprecision machining is an integral part of our lab. We take advantage of the high degree of flexibility concerning processable materials and designs and employ mechanical machining of polymers and non-ferrous metals to produce prototypes of microfluidic structures, bioreactor housings or moulds. The latter are mainly used for our proprietary microthermoforming process, for hot embossing, or to replicate soft structures by casting PDMS or other crosslinking polymers. 





Our group is using standard and proprietary lithography methods to produce micro- and nanostructures. Besides standard SU8 lithography, deepUV/direct lithography is employed to generate masters (for microreplication) or microfluidic structures in technical polymers.





Casting is one of our core microreplication processes in our lab. We are using crosslinkable polymers to replicate micro- and nanotopographies and to fabricate microfluidic structures (soft lithography) for biomedical applications.





Micro- and Nanofluidics





Ion track technology and 3D porous membranes






Ion Track technology


3D porous membranes


3D cell culture and advanced 3D in vitro models










Microfluidic Bioreactors and Organ-on-chips










Please find more about our company at