Date of Award

August 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Jörg Woehl

Committee Members

Peter Geissinger, Andy Pacheco


Microfluidic, Trapping


This thesis describes the development, characterization, and application of the microfluidics device integration of electrostatic corral trapping systems. Optical traps or "laser tweezers", which are capable of trapping microscopic dielectric particles through the production of steep electromagnetic field gradients, have been significant in the development of the field of biophysics and the manipulation of microscopic objects. This method of trapping unfortunately has a fundamental size limitation, making it incapable of trapping molecular-scale objects. We have developed a new tool for the trapping and manipulation of nanoscale objects including single molecules, the corral trap, which has distinct characteristics that set it apart from other trapping techniques. In order to increase the versatility of this new trapping tool, steps have been taken to integrate corral traps in a microfluidic cell. The production of such integrated devices based on optical lithography techniques will be presented in detail. Corral trapping in microfluidics device is expected to have important future applications in areas such as biomedical assays, ultra-sensitive biochemical analysis, and DNA manipulation and screening. Novelty: A novel method for the trapping of single molecules has been successfully used for the trapping of single ssDNA molecules.

Included in

Chemistry Commons