Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Santosh Pandey


In biological research, routine liquid handling operations require considerable human effort and manual labor. For this reason, experiments in clinical laboratories are time-consuming and thus expensive. Recently, advances in point-of-care “lab-on-a-chip” systems have allowed more efficient ways of sample handling and analysis. Such systems often operate by automated manipulation of discrete liquid droplets, and are increasing sought to improve experimental throughput. Various techniques have been developed to manipulate discrete droplets, such as digital microfluidics, surface acoustic waves, and texture ratchets. In this thesis, a novel droplet actuation system is presented that can be applied for molecular diagnostic tests. The system utilizes a motor-driven platform to manipulate droplets on a superhydrophobic surface patterned with hydrophilic symbols. The design of the system components and the various fluid-handling operations are presented, such as merging, mixing, dispensing, and splitting. A colorimetric glucose concentration assay is realized on the presented platform to measure levels of glucose in sheep serum samples. Our colorimetric experiments match favorably with the gold standard spectrophotometric method. These results indicate that the droplet actuator is a promising system for automating fluid-handling steps in biological experiments.


Copyright Owner

Riley Brien



File Format


File Size

51 pages