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Anal Chem. 2008 May 1;80(9):3387-92. doi: 10.1021/ac702605a. Epub 2008 Mar 12.

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

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


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 approximately 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 slightly 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.

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