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Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) belongs to a group of polymeric organo-silicon compounds that are commonly referred to as silicones. PDMS is non-toxic, optically clear, bio compatible, flexible and chemically stable. The PDMS chemical structure can be represented as:
PDMS can be synthesized with a variety of end groups suitable for a wide variety of applications. The PDMS used in soft lithography, in particular, is methyl group terminated. In addition the base polymer is available in different molecular weights and viscosities. LNF stocks Sylgard 184 (from Dupont Corp.) which has a viscosity in the 4000 - 6500 cSt.
Typically PDMS is etched with a mixture of O2 and a fluorine-containing gas such as SF6 or CF4.
PDMS is usually patterned by molding or soft lithography. Its chemical innertness, makes it difficult to wet etch and dry etch. Usually the dry etch of PDMS yields rough surfaces and in most of the cases residue. Several pares have been written about a combination of dry and wet etching