Microchannel devices with channel widths in the range from one micron to several hundred microns have become increasingly important structures for heat transfer applications. This paper will examine several classes of fabrication technologies that are employed in the field. Established technologies, such as bulk and surface micromachining, high aspect ratio machining, and conventional machining have been perfected over the last several decades and are the principal methods of creating microchannel structures. Synthesizing technologies, such as wafer bonding and micromolding techniques, allow these primary structures to be assembled together into working devices or enable high volume, low cost manufacturing using microstructured masters. Established and synthesizing technologies have reached a high level of performance and are generally the subject of refinement efforts rather than innovative investigations. Active research into new materials, processes, and fabrication strategies are found in the class of emerging technologies. This paper will briefly review the dimensional spectrum of microchannels and survey the established and synthesizing technologies. Then an exploration of emerging technologies will be made. The topic of rapid prototyping will be given particular emphasis.

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