Printable Hydrogel Arrays for Portable and High-Throughput Shear-Mediated Assays

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Hydrogels have been widely used to entrap biomolecules for various biocatalytic reactions. However, solute diffusion in these matrices to initiate such reactions can be a very slow process. Conventional mixing remains a challenge as it can cause irreversible distortion or fragmentation of the hydrogel itself. To overcome the diffusion-limit, a shear-stress-mediated platform named the portable vortex-fluidic device (P-VFD) is developed. P-VFD is a portable platform which consists of two main components, (i) a plasma oxazoline-coated polyvinyl chloride (POx-PVC) film with polyacrylamide and alginate (PAAm/Alg-Ca2+) tough hydrogel covalently bound to its surface and (ii) a reactor tube (L × D: 90 mm × 20 mm) where the aforementioned POx-PVC film could be readily inserted for reactions. Through a spotting machine, the PAAm/Alg-Ca2+ hydrogel can be readily printed on a POx-PVC film in an array pattern and up to 25.4 J/m2 adhesion energy can be achieved. The hydrogel arrays on the film not only offer a strong matrix for entrapping biomolecules such as streptavidin-horseradish peroxidase but are also shear stress-tolerant in the reactor tube, enabling a >6-fold increase in its reaction rate after adding tetramethylbenzidine, relative to incubation. Through using the tough hydrogel and its stably bonded substrate, this portable platform effectively overcomes the diffusion-limit and achieves fast assay detection without causing appreciable hydrogel array deformation or dislocation on the substrate film.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31114-31123
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2023


  • alginate
  • assay platform
  • portable detection device
  • spotting
  • tough hydrogel array


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