Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Shekhar Bhansali, Ph.D.


Microfabrication, Bio-MEMS, MEMS, DRIE


In this work, MEMS based fabrication is used to engineer multifaceted enhancements to microfluidic systems such as lab-on-a-chip devices. Two specific elements of microfluidic systems are the focus of this study: microfluidic chambers and microneedles. Microfluidic chambers, which are back-end passive elements, via proposed material and structural modifications, are shown to exhibit reduced non-specific DNA binding and enable increased cell lysis efficiency. Microneedles, which are front-end interfacing elements, have been fabricated in silicon and in silicon dioxide varieties. The geometry of silicon microneedles has been varied via DRIE processing to yield sharpened tips. Sharpening of microneedle tips provides reduced skin insertion force without compromising structural strength. Variation of skin insertion force of microneedles with change in tip sharpness has been studied, and toughness of human skin derived to be approximately 26 kJ/m². The axial and shear fracture limits of the microneedles have also been studied. Axial fracture of 36 gauge silicon needles takes place at an average force of 740gf. Shear fracture force of silicon needles varies from 275gf (33 gauge needles) to 35.6gf (36 gauge needles). Fracture limits of circular and square shaped silicon dioxide needles show reduced strength of square needles; which is pronounced in the case of shear fracture.