Metering the Capillary-Driven Flow of Fluids in Paper-Based Microfluidic Devices

2010-05-15T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Hyeran Noh Scott T. Phillips
This article describes an exceedingly simple and low-cost method for metering the capillary-driven flow rate of fluids within three-dimensional (3D) microfluidic, paper-based analytical devices (μPADs). Initial prototypes of 3D μPADs control the spatial distribution of fluids within a device, but they provide little control over how quickly (or slowly) fluids move within the device. The methods described in this article provide control over when and how quickly a fluid is distributed into detection zones. These methods are inexpensive (the metering regions are composed of paraffin wax), the devices are easy to fabricate, and they are capable of controlling the flow of fluids to detection zones with precise time delays (e.g., ±6% of the total wicking time). We anticipate that this type of precise control over fluid distribution rates will be useful particularly for point-of-care assays that require multiple steps (where each step requires that the reagents interact for a defined period of time) or for simultaneously displaying the results of multiple different assays on a single device.