COP/COC for Life Sciences Applications in Research and Diagnostics

In the ever-evolving landscape of life sciences research and diagnostics, the choice of materials is paramount to achieving precise, reliable results. Among the myriad of materials available, Cyclic Olefin Polymers (COP) and Cyclic Olefin Copolymers (COC) stand out for their exceptional properties and versatility. In this technical post, PDC delves into the unique characteristics of COP and COC polymers, their applications in life sciences, and their role in advancing research and diagnostics. 

Introduction to COP and COC Polymers 

COP and COC polymers belong to the family of cyclic olefins, offering a distinct set of properties that make them ideal for a wide range of applications, particularly in the life sciences sector. These polymers are characterized by their excellent optical clarity, low water absorption, high thermal stability, and biocompatibility, making them well-suited for use in sensitive biomedical environments. 

Applications in Life Sciences Research and Diagnostics 

The unique properties of COP and COC polymers render them indispensable in various life sciences applications, including research and diagnostics. From microfluidic devices and lab-on-a-chip systems to diagnostic consumables and medical devices, COP and COC materials are crucial in enabling precise sample handling, analysis, and detection. 

COP: Cyclic Olefin Polymer 

COP, also known as cyclic olefin homopolymers, exhibit exceptional clarity and purity, making them ideal for optical applications such as microscopy, spectroscopy, and imaging. Their low autofluorescence and minimal leachable content ensure accurate and reliable data acquisition in life sciences research. Moreover, COP polymers offer excellent dimensional stability and chemical resistance, enabling the fabrication of intricate microfluidic channels and devices for sample manipulation and analysis. 

COC: Cyclic Olefin Copolymer 

COC polymers, on the other hand, are copolymers derived from a blend of cyclic olefin monomers. This results in enhanced properties such as improved toughness, flexibility, and processability compared to COP homopolymers. COC materials find widespread use in life sciences applications requiring intricate molding, such as microfluidic cartridges, diagnostic consumables, and drug delivery systems. Their biocompatibility and resistance to chemical degradation make them well-suited for use in contact with biological samples and reagents. 

Advantages of COP and COC in Research and Diagnostics 

  1. Biocompatibility: Both COP and COC polymers are biocompatible materials, ensuring minimal interference with biological samples and assays. 
  2. Optical Clarity: The exceptional optical clarity of COP and COC materials enables precise observation and analysis of samples in microscopy and imaging applications. 
  3. Dimensional Stability: COP and COC polymers offer excellent dimensional stability, ensuring the reproducibility and accuracy of microfluidic devices and diagnostic consumables. 
  4. Chemical Resistance: These polymers exhibit high resistance to a wide range of chemicals, ensuring compatibility with various reagents and solvents used in life sciences research and diagnostics. 
  5. Customizability: COP and COC materials can be tailored to specific application requirements through modifications in composition, additives, and processing parameters, allowing for the development of customized solutions for diverse biomedical needs. 


COP and COC polymers represent a cornerstone in advancing life sciences research and diagnostics, offering unparalleled performance, reliability, and versatility. Learn more about how PDC continues to push the boundaries of micro molding innovations and how the unique properties of COP and COC materials play a pivotal role in providing our customers manufacturing solutions that best fit their product performance needs. 

Mastery in Precision Molding – Insights from Our Journey:

Having 30+ years of experience in injection molding of high-heat resins, COC and COP present unique challenges due to their narrow processing window. It is critical to precisely control melt temperature, injection pressure, and cooling rate to avoid unwanted defects. Especially when designing micro features on macro parts, commonly seen in the Life Science space. COC and COP are both hygroscopic materials, meaning they absorb moisture from the environment that can impact dimensional stability. PDC prioritizes proper material handling and drying procedures to ensure acceptable moisture content before processing. This reduces inconsistent shrinkage that may occur in the post-molding cooling stage. COC and COP are typically chosen for applications where transparency is critical. PDC has invested in environmental controls to maintain the integrity of the raw material throughout the molding process. Due to the high melt temperature and relatively low viscosity of COC and COP, mold design and material selection must account for thermal expansion, wear resistance, and thermal conductivity to ensure long-term durability and performance of the tool. Having DFM, Simulation, In-House Tooling, and Master Molders all under one roof has enabled PDC to provide end-to-end solutions for any COC or COP molding needs.