- 9:24 AM

Lab-on-a-Chip Design/Build Project in a First-Year Engineering Course

David Tomasko1, Yosef Allam2, Bruce Trott2, Phil Schlosser2, Yong Yang3, Paul Clingan4, Nick Ferrell5, and John Merrill2. (1) Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Ohio State University, Room 125A, Koffolt Labs., 140W. 19th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, (2) First-Year Engineering Program, The Ohio State University, 244C Hitchcock Hall, 2070 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, (3) Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Affordable Nanoengineering of Polymeric Biomedical Devices, The Ohio State University, 1381 Kinnear Road, Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212, (4) Freshman Engineering Honors Program, The Ohio State University, 244C Hitchcock Hall, 2070 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, (5) Biomedical Engineering, The Ohio State University, 1381 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43210

A multidisciplinary design project has been developed for use in the laboratory portion of a required Introduction to Engineering course. Both a regular version and an honors version have been incorporated into the existing freshman engineering program at The Ohio State University. Two sections of Eng 183A were offered in 2005-06 with an enrollment of 133 students, while one section of H193A was offered with an enrollment of 24 students. Each of these sections is offered as an alternate for those with an interest in nanotechnology and a more bioengineering based project. Enrollment in these alternate sections is by self-selection. For the regular version of the course (183), other sections build a roller coaster and in the honors version (H193), other sections build an autonomous robot.

In 183A, students design and fabricate a polymer-based lab-on-a-chip device to measure concentrations of a fluorescent compound. The device also incorporates a student-built photodetector incorporating an A/D converter and binary digital output. The device must be calibrated and then determine the concentration of an unknown solution to within 5%. The lab teaches project documentation, project management, scheduling, and teamwork. In addition, students are exposed to nanotechnology concepts and polymer nanofabrication techniques as an introduction to advanced research and development. The project is accomplished in 2 hour lab sessions meeting once per week for 10 weeks. Chemical engineering principles are introduced via a safe polymerization reaction (polydimethylsiloxane, PDMS), fluid flow in microchannels, and fluorescence detection.

In H193A, students do a more involved application of lab-on-a-chip developing a test device for measuring surface topology effects on yeast cell adhesion. Students also must design and construct a mechanical holder for the PDMS chip. This course meets for 7 hours a week in the laboratory and allows for more involved experimentation. Similar chemical engineering principles are introduced along with the biological basis for cell adhesion to surfaces.

In this talk, the course and project will be described, along with student survey results and preliminary tracking data to determine subsequent curriculum choices of students, particularly related to undergraduate research.