Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Engineering - Materials Engineering


Materials Engineering


Linda Vanasupa


This thesis describes the design, fabrication, and testing process for a microfluidic phosphate colorimeter utilized for water quality analysis. The device can be powered by, and interfaced for data collection with, a common cell phone or laptop to dramatically reduce costs. Unlike commercially available colorimeters, this device does not require the user to measure or mix sample and reagent. A disposable poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microfluid chip, powered by an absorption pumping mechanism, was used to draw water samples, mix the sample at a specific ratio with a molybdovanadate reagent, and load both fluids into an onboard cuvette for colorimetric analysis. A series of capillary retention valves, channels, and diffusion pumping surfaces passively controls the microfluidic chip so that no user input is required. The microfluidic chip was fabricated using a modified SU-8 soft lithography process to produce a 1.67mm light absorbance pathlength for optimal Beer Lambert Law color absorbance. Preliminary calibration curves for the device produced from standard phosphate solutions indicate a range of detection between 5 to 30mg/L for reactive orthophosphate with a linearity of R²=91.3% and precision of 2.6ppm. The performance of the PDMS absorption driven pumping process was investigated using flow image analysis and indicates an effective pumping rate up to approximately 7µL/min to load a 36µL sample.