Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Design, fabrication and application of a microfluidic nanofiltration module for separation and purification of macromolecules and nanoparticles Public Deposited

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  • A microfluidic nanofiltration module has been designed, fabricated and applied to the continuous-flow, pressure-driven, post-synthetic purification of macromolecules and nanoparticles via diafiltration using a commercially available organic solvent resistant nanofiltration membrane, STARMEM 122. This module will readily interface with other microscale components within a "nanofactory" for the rapid synthesis, purification and delivery of highly dispersed macromolecules and nanoparticles. The microfluidic nanofiltration module (MNM) fully integrates the membrane into an all-polymer format constructed of materials that are relatively inexpensive, chemically compatible with the targeted compounds and transmissive to visible light allowing optical monitoring of the system. A molecular weight cutoff of 2.3 kDa was determined for the MNM using half-generation poly(amidoamine) dendrimer standards in a simulated postsynthetic mixture of 4 mM methyl acrylate in methanol. The membrane was also characterized within a macroscale test fixture (MTF), constructed of reusable parts that are easily disassembled for rapid replacement of the membrane. Rejections of 95% to 97% were observed in the MTF for triphenylphosphine (PPh3) stabilized gold-eleven (Au11) nanoparticle standards. Rejections of 12% to 58% were also observed for PPh₃, an anticipated post-synthetic byproduct. Purification via diafiltration of realworld post-synthetic Au₁₁ mixtures was demonstrated in the MTF. Au₁₁ rejections > 99% were observed along with expected decreases in PPh₃ concentrations. Stable permeances of 2 L m⁻² h⁻¹ bar⁻¹ were also observed, comparable to those reported in the literature and claimed by the membrane manufacturer. The purity of the Au₁₁ final product was comparable to that of the crystalline Au11 standard purified by traditional means. These results suggest that a diafiltration system incorporating an organic solvent resistant nanofiltration membrane would be practical for rapid purification and high product recovery of gold nanoparticles in an organic solvent environment immediately downstream of a microreactor within a nanofactory architecture.
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