Design, Fabrication and Testing of 3D Printed Lab-On-Chip Devices for Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Applications

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering


Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Muralidhar K. Ghantasala

Second Advisor

Dr. William W. Liou

Third Advisor

Dr. Dan Fleming


3D printing, surface modification & characterization, cell attachment, magnetic particle tracing, drug delivery and targeting

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until



Three-dimensional (3D) printing is rapidly growing technology that best fits for manufacturing Lab-on-chip (LOC) devices and other biological applications due to its potential to build immensely complex structures from customized designs. This thesis mainly presents the work on development of 3D printed LOC devices for magnetic nanoparticle targeted drug delivery applications and demonstrates methods to modify surface properties of 3D printed scaffolds favorable for cell adhesion and proliferation. Primarily, using rapid prototyping and fused deposition modelling, 3D printed LOC devices were fabricated for transport studies of nanoparticles in a microfluidic channel. Dynabeads M-280, magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) diluted in aqueous solution were pressure driven and sent through the microfluidic channels of the LOC device. Velocities of MNPs with and without an externally applied magnetic field were determined to study the effect of magnetic field strength versus velocity. A simulation model using COMSOL was also built and computed to validate the experimental results of transport studies of nanoparticles in a microfluidic channel. On the other hand, use of 3D printed structures for cell adhesion, proliferation and activation requires tailoring of surface characteristics. In this context, this thesis also investigated the use of two biocompatible 3D printable polymer materials namely Poly-L-lactic Acid (PLA) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and their post-printing surface modification processes to achieve desired bio functionality. Three post-printing surface modification techniques, including alkaline hydrolysis, UV/Ozone etching and gold thin film deposition were performed with the objective of introducing useful levels of surface functionalities. Poly-L-lysine labelled with a Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) chromophore was immobilized on the surface modified samples. Further, the effect of surface roughness and porosity of the 3D printed structures on the protein immobilization were studied and compared on as-printed versus mechanically polished surfaces. Our results demonstrated denser protein attachment on polished hydrolyzed PLA and ABS surfaces. Experimental and Simulation studies of particle tracing are in good agreement and showed velocities of particles is reduced and eventually comes to rest with increase in magnetic field strength.

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