A novel method of thermoplastic fusion bonding (TPFB), or thermal bonding, for polymer fluidic devices was demonstrated. A pressure cooker was used in a simple sealing and packaging process with precise control of the critical parameters. Polymer devices were enclosed in a vacuum-sealed polymer container. This produced an even pressure distribution and a precise temperature boundary condition over the whole surface of the device. Deformation indicators were integrated on the devices to provide a rapid means of checking deformation and pressure distribution with the naked eye. Temperature, pressure, and time are the fundamental parameters of TPFB. The temperature and pressure are dominated by the material and contact area of the device. The temperature and pressure can be manipulated by controlling the water vapor pressure. The boiling solution guarantees an accurate, constant temperature boundary condition. Time can be eliminated as a variable by choosing a sufficient time to achieve good bonding, since there was no apparent damage to the microstructures after one hour. This new method of TPFB was demonstrated for sealing and packaging a PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) microfluidic device. Good results were obtained using the vacuum sealed polymer container in the pressure cooker. This method is also suitable for scaling up for mass production.

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