Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

Jing Wang, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Ryan Toomey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Subhra Mohapatra, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Gallant, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Frisina, Ph.D.


AC Magnetic Hyperthermia, Microfluidics, Photo-crosslinking, Photo-deprotection, Smart Materials


This dissertation presents enabling technologies to fabricate thermo-responsive polymer composite based Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) devices. LOC devices, also known as micro-total-analytical systems (microTAS) or microfluidic devices can amalgamate miniaturized laboratory functions on a single chip. This significant size reduction decreases the amount of required fluid volumes down to nano or pico-liters. The main commercial application of LOC devices is the biomedical fields. However, these devices are anticipated to make a technological revolution similar to the way miniaturization changed computers. In fact, medical and chemical analyses are predicted to shift from room-sized laboratories to hand-held portable devices.

This dissertation is divided into three technologies. First, a series of terpolymer systems were synthesized and characterized to fabricate crosslinked coatings for phototunable swelling and create chemically patterned regions in order to conjugate cationic markers, proteins, or nanoparticles to the terpolymer coating. Second, antifouling surfaces were fabricated using magnetic thermo-responsive hydrogel structures via soft lithography. The structures were remote control activated with the use of AC magnetic fields. Finally, in order for LOC devices to fulfill its promise of bringing a laboratory to a hand-held device, they will have to be integrated with CMOS technology. Packaging will play a crucial role in this process. The last section will focus on the importance of coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch in multi-chip modules.

For the first technology, multi-functionalized terpolymer systems have been developed comprising of three units: N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm), a stimuli responsive monomer that swells and collapses in response to temperature; methacryloxybenzophenone (MaBP), a photo-crosslinkable monomer that is activated at λ = 365 nm; and phenacyl methacrylate (PHEm), a photolabile protected functional group that generates localized free carboxyl groups in response to deprotection at λ = 254 nm. The multifunctional terpolymers can be spin-casted to form thin films of well-defined thickness, photo-crosslinked by a long UV wavelength light (λ = 365 nm) to form distinct structural patterns, and subsequently photo-chemically modified by a short UV wavelength light (λ = 254 nm). The photocleavage reaction by UV irradiation allows the production of free carboxylic groups that can be used to conjugate cationic markers, proteins, or nanoparticles to the terpolymer coating. Furthermore, the free carboxyl groups can be used to locally tune the swelling characteristics and transition temperature of the coatings.

For the second technology, when Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles are integrated into PNIPAAm based composite systems, their resultant hyperthermia behavior becomes an ideal mechanism for remote controlled actuation. In this work, nano Fe3O4 octopods were seeded in fabricated PNIPAAm hydrogel micro-actuators. When the magnetic hydrogel structures were exposed to a magnetic field strength of 63 kA/m at a frequency of 300 kHz, the hydrogel micro-beams underwent a buckling effect when the field was absent and an unbuckling effect when the field was present. The hydrogel micro-beams were fabricated at an approximate distance from one another developing micromanipulating surfaces that were remote control activated. The response time, heating efficiency, and magnetic behavior were thoroughly studied. Lastly, micron sized polystyrene beads were exposed to the antifouling surfaces and movement of the beads was observed as the magnetic hydrogel micro-beams underwent their physical changes.

For the third technology, a major reason of device failure in multi-chip module assemblies is a CTE mismatch between the underfill encapsulant material and the integrated circuit chip. Some of the failure mechanisms of microelectronic packaging due to CTE mismatch include fractures, delamination, or cracks through the device. In this section, the CTE of a commercially available underfill material is greatly reduced by loading the polymer resin material with hollow glass beads, to realize an overall effective CTE of 6.6 ppm/°C. Furthermore, the newly developed composite material exhibited outstanding thermomechanical stability at high temperatures beyond 150°C by holding a 3X lower CTE and a higher glass transition temperature.