Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Chao-Hung Steve Tung

Committee Member

Yanbin Li

Second Committee Member

Douglas E. Spearot

Third Committee Member

Uchechukwu C. Wejinya

Fourth Committee Member

Po-Hao Adam Huang


Applied sciences, Biomolecule detection, Microfluidics, PDMS, Point-of-care-testing


The emerging field of micro total analysis system powered by microfluidics is expected to revolutionize miniaturization and automation for point-of-care-testing systems which require quick, efficient and reproducible results. In the present study, a PDMS based micro total analysis system has been developed for rapid, multi-purpose, impedance based detection of biomolecules. The major components of the micro total analysis system include a micropump, micromixer, magnetic separator and interdigitated electrodes for impedance detection. Three designs of pneumatically actuated PDMS based micropumps were fabricated and tested. Based on the performance test results, one of the micropumps was selected for integration. The experimental results of the micropump performance were confirmed by a 2D COMSOL simulation combined with an equivalent circuit analysis of the micropump. Three designs of pneumatically actuated PDMS based active micromixers were fabricated and tested. The micromixer testing involved determination of mixing efficiency based on the streptavidin-biotin conjugation reaction between biotin comjugated fluorescent microbeads and streptavidin conjugated paramagnetic microbeads, followed by fluorescence measurements. Based on the performance test results, one of the micromixers was selected for integration. The selected micropump and micromixer were integrated into a single microfluidic system. The testing of the magnetic separation scheme involved comparison of three permanent magnets and three electromagnets of different sizes and magnetic strengths, for capturing magnetic microbeads at various flow rates. Based on the test results, one of the permanent magnets was selected. The interdigitated electrodes were fabricated on a glass substrate with gold as the electrode material. The selected micropumps, micromixer and interdigitated electrodes were integrated to achieve a fully integrated microfluidic system. The fully integrated microfluidic system was first applied towards biotin conjugated fluorescent microbeads detection based on streptavidin-biotin conjugation reaction which is followed by impedance spectrum measurements. The lower detection limit for biotin conjugated fluorescent microbeads was experimentally determined to be 1.9 x 106 microbeads. The fully integrated microfluidic system was then applied towards immuno microbead based insulin detection. The lower detection limit for insulin was determined to be 10-5M. The total detection time was 20 min. An equivalent circuit analysis was performed to explain the impedance spectrum results.