Low-cost printing of poly(dimethylsiloxane) barriers to define microchannels in paper

Derek A. Bruzewicz, Meital Reches, George M. Whitesides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This paper describes the use of a modified x,y-plotter to generate hydrophilic channels by printing a solution of hydrophobic polymer (pol(dimethylsiloxane; PDMS) dissolved in hexanes onto filter paper. The PDMS penetrates the depth of the paper and forms a hydrophobic wall that aqueous solutions cannot cross. The minimum size of printed features is ∼1 mm; this resolution is adequate for the rapid prototyping of hand-held, visually read, diagnostic assays (and other microfluidic systems) based on paper. After curing the printed PDMS, the paper-based devices can be bent or folded to generate three-dimensional systems of channels. Capillary action pulls aqueous samples into the paper channels. Colorimetric assays for the presence of glucose and protein are demonstrated in the printed devices; spots of Bromothymol Blue distinguished samples with slightiy basic pH (8.0) from samples with slightly acidic pH (6.5). The work also describes using printed devices that can be loaded using multipipets and printed flexible, foldable channels in paper over areas larger than 100 cm2.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3387-3392
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


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