Engineering Patterned Materials and Microstructured Fibers for Microfluidics and Analytical Applications
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The primary objective of this thesis is to design and engineer new platforms with the potential for creating new analytical techniques as well as improving established methods. The first portion of this thesis investigates the utilization of commercially available capillary- and microstructured fiber templates for the synthesis of functional polymeric materials with controllable chemical composition and morphology. This process has also been adapted to form materials in a planar fashion with similar morphology towards the development of robust superhydrophobic materials. In additional work, a laser micromachining system was employed to spatially control the wettability of commercially available superhydrophobic materials and the spontaneous deposition of sub-μL volumes was investigated. Laser spots as small as 100 μm facilitated the deposition of droplets 400 pL in volume. Theoretically, patch sizes as small as 15 μm can be fabricated, however, using the techniques presented there are significant limitations in the ability to quantify the volumes deposited on these patches. The remainder of this thesis looked to design, fabricate, characterize, and post-process novel microstructured fibers for mass spectrometry applications. In these works, the synergistic effects of spatially altering the chemical composition of the fiber and flow-protected wet-chemical etching were used to form microstructured nozzles at the fiber facet. These micronozzle arrays were further tested for their optical lensing and electrospray properties for various applications.