Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


David Clague


Abstract Application of Argon Plasma Technology to Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Microdroplet Generation in PDMS Microfluidic Devices Brennan Graham Microfluidics has gained popularity over the last decade due to the ability to replace many large, expensive laboratory processes with small handheld chips with a higher throughput due to the small channel dimensions [1]. Droplet microfluidics is the field of fluid manipulation that takes advantage of two immiscible fluids to create droplets from the geometry of the microchannels. This project includes the design of a microfluidic device that applies the results of an argon plasma surface treatment to polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to successfully produce both hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces to create oil in water (O/W) and water in oil (W/O) microdroplets. If an argon plasma surface treatment renders the surface of PDMS hydrophilic, then O/W microdroplets can be created and integrated into a larger microdroplet emulsion device. The major aims of this project include: (1) validating previously established Cal Poly lab protocols to produce W/O droplets in hydrophobic PDMS microdroplet generators (2) creating hydrophilic PDMS microdroplet generators (3) making oil in water droplets in hydrophilic PDMS microdroplet generators (4) designing a multilayer microfluidic device to transfer W/O droplets to a second hydrophilic PDMS microdroplet generator v W/O droplets were successfully created and transferred to a second hydrophilic PDMS device. The hydrophilic PDMS device also produced O/W droplets in separate testing from the multilayered microfluidic PDMS device. The ultimate purpose of this project is to create a multilayer microdroplet generator that produces water in oil in water (W/O/W) microdroplet emulsions through a stacked device design that can be used in diagnostic microdroplet applications. Thesis Supervisor: Dave Clague Title: Professor of Biomedical Engineering