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Analyst. 2011 Jan 7;136(1):77-82. doi: 10.1039/c0an00406e. Epub 2010 Sep 27.

A low-cost, simple, and rapid fabrication method for paper-based microfluidics using wax screen-printing.

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  • 1Electrochemical Research Group, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Patumwan, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand.


Wax screen-printing as a low-cost, simple, and rapid method for fabricating paper-based microfluidic devices (µPADs) is reported here. Solid wax was rubbed through a screen onto paper filters. The printed wax was then melted into the paper to form hydrophobic barriers using only a hot plate. We first studied the relationship between the width of a hydrophobic barrier and the width of the original design line. We also optimized the heating temperature and time and determined the resolution of structures fabricated using this technique. The minimum width of hydrophilic channel and hydrophobic barrier is 650 and 1300 µm, respectively. Next, our fabrication method was compared to a photolithographic method using the reaction between bicinchoninic acid (BCA) and Cu(1+) to demonstrate differences in background reactivity. Photolithographically defined channels exhibited a high background while wax printed channels showed a very low background. Finally, the utility of wax screen-printing was demonstrated for the simultaneous determination of glucose and total iron in control human serum samples using an electrochemical method with glucose oxidase and a colorimetric method with 1,10-phenanthroline. This study demonstrates that wax screen-printing is an easy-to-use and inexpensive alternative fabrication method for µPAD, which will be especially useful in developing countries.

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