Studies of electroosmotic flow and the effects of protein adsorption in plasma-polymerized microchannel surfaces

Malinda Salim, Phillip C. Wright, Sally Louise McArthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a study of EOF properties of plasma-polymerized microchannel surfaces and the effects of protein (fibrinogen and lysozyme) adsorption on the EOF behavior of the surface-modified microchannels. Three plasma polymer surfaces, i.e. tetraglyme, acrylic acid and allylamine, are tested. Results indicate EOF suppression in all plasma-coated channels compared with the uncoated glass microchannel surfaces. The EOF behaviors of the modified microchannels after exposure to protein solutions are also investigated and show that even low levels of protein adsorption can significantly influence EOF behavior, and in some cases, result in the reversal of flow. The results also highlight that EOF measurement can be used as a method for detecting the presence of proteins within microchannels at low surface coverage (<1 ng/cm2 on glass). Critically, the results illustrate that the non-fouling tetraglyme plasma polymer is able to sustain EOF. Comparison of the plasma-polymerized surfaces with conventionally grafted poly-electrolyte surfaces demonstrates the stabilities of the plasma polymer films, enabling multiple EOF runs over 3 days without deterioration in performance. The results of this study clearly demonstrate that plasma polymers enable the surface chemistry of microfluidic devices to be tailored for specific applications. Critically, the deposition of the non-fouling tetraglyme coating enables stable EOF to be induced in the presence of protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1877-1887
Number of pages11
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • EOF
  • Microchannel
  • Plasma polymerization
  • Protein adsorption

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