An ultra-thin PDMS membrane as a bio/micro-nano interface: fabrication and characterization
We report a method for making ultra-thin PDMS membrane devices. Freely suspended membranes as thin as 70 nm have been fabricated. Bulging tests were performed with a custom built fluidic cell to characterize large circular membranes. The fluidic cell allows the media (such as air or water) to wet one side of the membrane while maintaining the other side dry. Pressure was applied to the membrane via a liquid manometer through the fluidic cell. The resulting load-deflection curves show membranes that are extremely flexible, and they can be reproducibly loaded and unloaded. Such devices may potentially be used as mechanical and chemical sensors, and as a bio-nano/micro interface to study cellular mechanics in both static and dynamic environments.