Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Applied Science (MASc)


Chemical Engineering


Dr. Carlos Filipe


Dr. Robert Pelton



Committee Member

Dr. Todd Hoare and Dr. Emily Cranston


Research in paper-based analytical devices has been increasing rapidly in recent years. Manyof these devices are used as low-cost alternatives for diagnostics and biosensing. In this work,two novel paper-based technologies were developed.

The first paper-based technology achieved was measuring streaming potential on paper-based microfluidic devices. The streaming potential measurements were able to detect the presence of adsorbed polyvinylamine or potassium polyvinylsulfate in paper-based microfluidic channels.

The measured streaming potential ranged from -80 mV to 80 mV and the polarity was sensitive to the adsorbed polymer. Furthermore, the measured streaming potential on paper treated with BSA showed a polarity switch when the pH was changed from below the pKa to above the pKa of BSA. Lastly, streaming potential measurements may provide an electronic interface for paperbased sensors.

The second technology developed was a paper-based chromatographic pre-concentration device for biological and chemical applications. The device successfully concentrated a protein, streptavidin, via biotinylated microgels immobilized onto a selected area of the filter paper. The device was able to process a large volume of fluid with the incorporation of a passive pump made of superabsorbent polymer. The concentration factor achieved by the device was over 3000-fold. The flow dynamics through the paper was modeled using Darcy’s law. This technology could be an excellent low-cost alternative for biochemical analysis for samples thatrequire preconcentration, especially for the analysis of trace compounds in wastewater and drinking water.

McMaster University Library

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