Paper-based smart microfluidics for education and low-cost diagnostics

  • Suzanne Smith Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Klariska Moodley Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Ureshnie Govender Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Hao Chen Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Louis Fourie Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Sibusiso Ngwenya Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Shavon Kumar Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Phumlani Mjwana Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Hastings Cele Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Mesuli B. Mbanjwa Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Suretha Potgieter Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Trudi-Heleen Joubert Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Kevin Land Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa
Keywords: diagnostics, printed electronics, biosensors, micro paper-based analytical devices, μPAD

Abstract

Current centralised healthcare models pose many challenges, particularly for developing countries such as South Africa, where travel and time costs make it difficult for patients to seek healthcare, even when urgently needed. To address this issue, point-of-care (PoC) tests, which are performed at or near the site of clinical care, have gained popularity and are actively being developed. Microfluidic systems, in which small volumes of fluids can be processed, provide an ideal platform on which to develop PoC diagnostic solutions. Specifically, the emerging field of paper-based microfluidics, with advantages such as low-cost, disposability and minimal external equipment requirements, provides unique opportunities for addressing healthcare issues in developing countries. This work explores the field of paper-based microfluidics, with step-by-step instructions on the design, manufacture and testing processes to realise paper-based devices towards diagnostic applications. Paper-based microfluidic and electronic components are presented, as well as the integration of these components to provide smart paper-based devices. This serves as an educational tool, enabling both beginners and experts in the field to fast-track development of unique paper-based solutions towards PoC diagnostics, with emphasis on the South African context, where both the need for and impact of these solutions are great.

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Published
2015-11-26