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Low-Cost Microfluidic Sensors with Smart Hydrogel Patterned Arrays Using Electronic Resistive Channel Sensing for Readout

1
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
2
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
3
Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research & Management Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 August 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 19 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Hydrogels for (Bio)printing Applications)
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Abstract

There is a strong commercial need for inexpensive point-of-use sensors for monitoring disease biomarkers or environmental contaminants in drinking water. Point-of-use sensors that employ smart polymer hydrogels as recognition elements can be tailored to detect almost any target analyte, but often suffer from long response times. Hence, we describe here a fabrication process that can be used to manufacture low-cost point-of-use hydrogel-based microfluidics sensors with short response times. In this process, mask-templated UV photopolymerization is used to produce arrays of smart hydrogel pillars inside sub-millimeter channels located upon microfluidics devices. When these pillars contact aqueous solutions containing a target analyte, they swell or shrink, thereby changing the resistance of the microfluidic channel to ionic current flow when a small bias voltage is applied to the system. Hence resistance measurements can be used to transduce hydrogel swelling changes into electrical signals. The only instrumentation required is a simple portable potentiostat that can be operated using a smartphone or a laptop, thus making the system suitable for point of use. Rapid hydrogel response rate is achieved by fabricating arrays of smart hydrogels that have large surface area-to-volume ratios. View Full-Text
Keywords: smart hydrogels; microfluidic sensors; UV photopolymerization; fast response time smart hydrogels; microfluidic sensors; UV photopolymerization; fast response time
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Leu, H.-Y.; Farhoudi, N.; Reiche, C.F.; Körner, J.; Mohanty, S.; Solzbacher, F.; Magda, J. Low-Cost Microfluidic Sensors with Smart Hydrogel Patterned Arrays Using Electronic Resistive Channel Sensing for Readout. Gels 2018, 4, 84.

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