Flow-based compact microfluidic electrochemical cell with Parafilm® channels

Zhenglong Li, Niranjan Haridas, Maryom Rahman, Sreerag Kaaliveetil, Yu Hsuan Cheng, Charmi Chande, Sagnik Basuray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A planar interdigitated microelectrodes-based microfluidic electrochemical cell (P-μFEC) with channels made by Parafilm® sheets was conceptualized with the application as a sensor for detecting heavy metal ions. Herein, we first-timely proposed a new strategy for creating Parafilm® microchannels using a Plotter cutter and Hot bonding self-sealing method for solid Microfluidic devices (PPHM). For the prepared novel P-µFEC by the PPHM protocol, which operated in the laminar regime, its electrochemical performance was well-studied using the well-known electrochemical reporter potassium Ferri/Ferrocyanide (K3/K4[Fe(CN)6]). A reference electrode (RE) layer deposited at the top silica glass substrate was embedded within the device to minimize the ohmic drop (iRcell) between the working electrode (WE) and RE. The experimental and virtualized computational COMSOL results demonstrated: (i) The changes in the RE's placements had negligible influences on the P-µFEC's electrochemical performance. (ii) The laminar flow's influence on the P-µFEC's electrochemical performance was quite prominent, which was due to the changes in the mass transfer process from diffusion (stationary) to diffusion + convection (hydrodynamic). (iii) A direct virtualized demonstration of laminar flow's influences on the mass transfer process from diffusion (stationary) to diffusion + convection (hydrodynamic) was first timely validated by finite element analysis simulation using COMSOL Multiphysics. (iv) Finally, the proposed P-µFEC showed promise as a sensitive electrochemical sensor for different heavy metal ion substrate (model analytes) detection. The IUPAC detection limits for Cu2+, Pb2+, [Fe(CN)6]3- and Hg2+ is ∼318.6±3.55 μg/L, ∼191±5.4 4 μg/L, ∼113.5±9.9 μg/L, and 8.21±0.88 μg/L, respectively. Among them, the detection limit for Cu2+ and Hg2+ meets the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s water contamination level for Cu (1300 μg/L) and is close to the EPA level for Hg (2 μg/L), respectively. These findings demonstrate the potential of using the Parafilm® sheet as the microfluidic channel for a flow-based P-μFEC as a novel analytical tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number143349
JournalElectrochimica Acta
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


  • Finite element analysis
  • Heavy metals
  • Microfluidic electrochemical cell
  • Parafilm® sheet
  • Planar interdigitated microelectrode


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