Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Polymers and Coatings


Chemistry & Biochemistry


Philip Costanzo


Microfluidic paper based analytical devices (microPADs) are a novel platform for point of care (POC) diagnostics. Limitations of reagent shelf life have been overcome with the introduction of reagent pencils as a method for solid-based reagent deposition. While useful, little work has been reported on the characterization and optimization of reagent pencils. Herein, an investigation on reagent pencil composition and efficiency is conducted via colorimetric release profile tests utilizing an erioglaucine disodium salt that yields a quantifiable blue colored product in the presence of water. Within this work, an investigation on the molecular weight dependence, polymer chain end functionality, and polymer-graphite ratio was conducted to determine the most desirable parameters in reagent pencil composition. Further, the effects of enzyme stability in the presence of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is investigated.

To show the versatility of reagent pencils, a novel reagent pencil incorporating a stimuli responsive polymer, poly(N-isporopylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) was developed. In this work, PNIPAM’s lower critical solution temperature (LCST) was manipulated with various salt solutions to control fluid flow both laterally and vertically through various microPAD designs. It was found that, while PNIPAM successfully blocked or retarded fluid flow in microPADs, the effect was limited when DI H2O wash solutions were run prior to salt solutions. To counteract this, PNIPAM was successfully covalently bound to alkene modified chromatography paper via thiolene click chemistry to reinforce solution wash tolerance.