Microfluidics miniaturizes many benchtop processes and provides advantages of low cost, reduced reagent usage, process integration, and faster analyses. Microfluidic devices have been fabricated from a wide variety of materials and methods for many applications. This dissertation describes four such examples, each employing different features and fabrication methods or materials in order to achieve their respective goals. In the first example of microfluidic applications in this dissertation, thermoplastics are hot embossed to form t-shaped channels for microchip electrophoresis. These devices are used to separate six preterm birth (PTB) biomarkers and establish a limit of detection for each. The next chapter describes 3D printed devices with reversed-phase monoliths for solid-phase extraction and on-chip fluorescent labeling of PTB biomarkers. I demonstrate the optimization of the monolith and selective retention of nine PTB biomarkers, the first microchip study to perform an analysis on this entire panel. The third project describes the iterative design and fabrication of glass/polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) devices with gold and nickel electrodes for the self-assembly of DNA nanotubes for site-selective placement of nanowires. Simple flow channels and “patch electrode” devices were successfully used, and DNA seeding was achieved on gold electrodes. Finally, a 3D printed device for cancer drug screening was developed as a replacement for one previously fabricated in PDMS. Devices of increasing complexity were fabricated, and those tested found to give good control over fluid flow for multiple inlets and valves. Although the applications and methods of these projects are varied, the work in this dissertation demonstrates the potential of microfluidics in several fields, particularly for diagnostics, therapeutics, and nanoelectronics. Furthermore, it demonstrates the importance of applying appropriate tools to each problem to gain specific advantages. Each of the described devices has the potential for increased complexity and integration, which further emphasizes the advantages of miniaturized analyses and the potential for microfluidics for analytical testing in years to come.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type





microfluidics, preterm birth, electrophoresis, solid-phase extraction, nanoelectronics, cancer therapeutics, point-of-care, 3D printing, porous polymer monolith