A Caltech Library Service

Manipulating Fluids: Advances in Micro-Fluidics, Opto-Fluidics and Fluidic Self-Assembly


Vyawahare, Saurabh (2006) Manipulating Fluids: Advances in Micro-Fluidics, Opto-Fluidics and Fluidic Self-Assembly. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/04XY-C430.


This dissertation describes work in three inter-related areas – micro-fluidics, opto-fluidics and fluidic self-assembly. Micro-fluidics has gotten a boost in recent years with the development of multilayered elastomeric devices made of poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), allowing active elements like valves and pumps. However, while PDMS has many advantages, it is not resistant to organic solvents. New materials and/or new designs are needed for solvent resistance. I describe how novel fluorinated elastomers can replace PDMS when combined with three dimensional (3-D) solid printing. I also show how another 3-D fabrication method, multilayer photo-lithography, allows for fabrication of devices integrating filters. In general, 3-D fabrications allow new kinds of micro-fluidic devices to be made that would be impossible to emulate with two dimensional chips.

In opto-fluidics, I describe a number of experiments with quantum dots both inside and outside chips. Inside chips, I manipulate quantum dots using hydrodynamic focusing to pattern fine lines, like a barcode. Outside chips, I describe our attempts to create quantum dot composites with micro-spheres. I also show how evaporated gold films and chemical passivation can then be used to enhance the emission of quantum dots.

Finally, within fluids, self-assembly is an attractive way to manipulate materials, and I provide two examples: first, a DNA-based energy transfer molecule that relies on quantum mechanics and self-assembles inside fluids. This kind of molecular photonics mimics parts of the photosynthetic apparatus of plants and bacteria. The second example of self-assembly in fluids describes a new phenomena - the surface tension mediated self assembly of particles like quantum dots and micro-spheres into fine lines. This self assembly by capillary flows can be combined with photo-lithography, and is expected to find use in future nano- and micro-fabrication schemes.

In conclusion, advances in fluidics, integrating materials like quantum dots and solvent resistant elastomers along with 3-D fabrication and methods of self assembly, provide a new set of tools that significantly expand our control over fluids.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:capillary flows; elastomeric micro-fluidics; FRET cascade; quantum dot barcode; solvent resistant micro-fluidics; surface plasmon
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Scherer, Axel
Thesis Committee:
  • Scherer, Axel (chair)
  • Bockrath, Marc William
  • Elowitz, Michael B.
  • Fraser, Scott E.
Defense Date:16 May 2006
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05252006-223101
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2064
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:01 Jun 2006
Last Modified:06 May 2020 22:00

Thesis Files

PDF (Full thesis) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

PDF (Front Matter) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

PDF (Appendix - Fluidic Design) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page