3D printed microfluidic devices with integrated versatile and reusable electrodes

Lab Chip. 2014 Jun 21;14(12):2023-32. doi: 10.1039/c4lc00171k. Epub 2014 Apr 25.


We report two 3D printed devices that can be used for electrochemical detection. In both cases, the electrode is housed in commercially available, polymer-based fittings so that the various electrode materials (platinum, platinum black, carbon, gold, silver) can be easily added to a threaded receiving port printed on the device; this enables a module-like approach to the experimental design, where the electrodes are removable and can be easily repolished for reuse after exposure to biological samples. The first printed device represents a microfluidic platform with a 500 × 500 μm channel and a threaded receiving port to allow integration of either polyetheretherketone (PEEK) nut-encased glassy carbon or platinum black (Pt-black) electrodes for dopamine and nitric oxide (NO) detection, respectively. The embedded 1 mm glassy carbon electrode had a limit of detection (LOD) of 500 nM for dopamine and a linear response (R(2) = 0.99) for concentrations between 25-500 μM. When the glassy carbon electrode was coated with 0.05% Nafion, significant exclusion of nitrite was observed when compared to signal obtained from equimolar injections of dopamine. When using flow injection analysis with a Pt/Pt-black electrode and standards derived from NO gas, a linear correlation (R(2) = 0.99) over a wide range of concentrations (7.6-190 μM) was obtained, with the LOD for NO being 1 μM. The second application showcases a 3D printed fluidic device that allows collection of the biologically relevant analyte adenosine triphosphate (ATP) while simultaneously measuring the release stimulus (reduced oxygen concentration). The hypoxic sample (4.8 ± 0.5 ppm oxygen) released 2.4 ± 0.4 times more ATP than the normoxic sample (8.4 ± 0.6 ppm oxygen). Importantly, the results reported here verify the reproducible and transferable nature of using 3D printing as a fabrication technique, as devices and electrodes were moved between labs multiple times during completion of the study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Dopamine / analysis*
  • Electrochemical Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Electrochemical Techniques* / methods
  • Electrodes
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques* / methods
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis*
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Oxygen
  • Dopamine