The present paper discusses practical aspects of prototyping of microfluidic chips using cyclic olefin copolymer as substrate and the application in high-performance liquid chromatography. The developed chips feature a 60mm long straight separation channel with circular cross section (500μm i.d.) that was created using a micromilling robot. To irreversibly seal the top and bottom chip substrates, a solvent-vapor-assisted bonding approach was optimized, allowing to approximate the ideal circular channel geometry. Four different approaches to establish the micro-to-macro interface were pursued. The average burst pressure of the microfluidic chips in combination with an encasing holder was established at 38MPa and the maximum burst pressure was 47MPa, which is believed to be the highest ever report for these polymer-based microfluidic chips. Porous polymer monolithic frits were synthesized in-situ via UV-initiated polymerization and their locations were spatially controlled by the application of a photomask. Next, high-pressure slurry packing was performed to introduce 3μm silica reversed-phase particles as the stationary phase in the separation channel. Finally, the application of the chip technology is demonstrated for the separation of alkyl phenones in gradient mode yielding baseline peak widths of 6s by applying a steep gradient of 1.8min at a flow rate of 10μL/min.
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