Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Polymers and Coatings


Chemistry & Biochemistry


Dr. Andres W. Martinez


N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide-crosslinked poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), also known as P(NIPAM), was developed as a fluid delivery system for use with microfluidic paper-based analytical devices (microPADs). MicroPADs are postage-stamp-sized devices made out of paper that can be used as platforms for low-cost, simple-to-use point-of-care diagnostic assays. P(NIPAM) is a thermally responsive polymer that absorbs aqueous solutions at room temperature and will expel the solutions to microPADs when heated. The fluid delivery characteristics of P(NIPAM) were assessed, and P(NIPAM) was able to deliver multiple solutions to microPADs in specific sequences or simultaneously in a laminar-flow configuration. P(NIPAM) was then shown to be suitable for delivering four classes of reagents to microPADs: small molecules, enzymes, antibodies and DNA. P(NIPAM) successfully delivered a series of standard concentrations of glucose (0 – 5 mM) to microPADs equipped to perform a colorimetric glucose assay. The results of these tests were used to produce an external calibration curve, which in turn was used to determine accurately the concentrations of glucose in sample solutions. P(NIPAM) successfully delivered fluorescein-labeled IgG and fluorescein-labeled oligonucleotides (20 base pairs) to microPADs in a variety of concentrations. P(NIPAM) also successfully delivered horseradish peroxidase (HRP) to microPADs, and it was determined that HRP could be stored in P(NIPAM) for 35 days with minimal loss in activity. The combination of P(NIPAM) with microPADs will allow for more complex assays to be performed with minimal user input, will facilitate the preparation of external calibration curves in the field, and may be useful in extending the shelf life of microPADs by stabilizing reagents.