Nanoparticles (NPs) are used in various medicinal applications. Exosomes, bio-derived NPs, are promising biomarkers obtained through separation and concentration from body fluids. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based microchannels are well-suited for precise handling of NPs, offering benefits such as high gas permeability and low cytotoxicity. However, the large specific surface area of NPs may result in nonspecific adsorption on the device substrate and thus cause sample loss. Therefore, an understanding of NP adsorption on microchannels is important for the operation of microfluidic devices used for NP handling. Herein, we characterized NP adsorption on PDMS-based substrates and microchannels by atomic force microscopy to correlate NP adsorptivity with the electrostatic interactions associated with NP and dispersion medium properties. When polystyrene NP dispersions were introduced into PDMS-based microchannels at a constant flow rate, the number of adsorbed NPs decreased with decreasing NP and microchannel zeta potentials (i.e., with increasing pH), which suggested that the electrostatic interaction between the microchannel and NPs enhanced their repulsion. When exosome dispersions were introduced into PDMS-based microchannels with different wettabilities at constant flow rates, exosome adsorption was dominated by electrostatic interactions. The findings obtained should facilitate the preconcentration, separation, and sensing of NPs by PDMS-based microfluidic devices.
- Atomic force microscopy
- Surface treatment