Silicon nanofluidic membrane for electrostatic control of drugs and analytes elution

Nicola Di Trani, Antonia Silvestri, Yu Wang, Danilo Demarchi, Xuewu Liu, Alessandro Grattoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Individualized long-term management of chronic pathologies remains an elusive goal despite recent progress in drug formulation and implantable devices. The lack of advanced systems for therapeutic administration that can be controlled and tailored based on patient needs precludes optimal management of pathologies, such as diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis. Several triggered systems for drug delivery have been demonstrated. However, they mostly rely on continuous external stimuli, which hinder their application for long-term treatments. In this work, we investigated a silicon nanofluidic technology that incorporates a gate electrode and examined its ability to achieve reproducible control of drug release. Silicon carbide (SiC) was used to coat the membrane surface, including nanochannels, ensuring biocompatibility and chemical inertness for long-term stability for in vivo deployment. With the application of a small voltage (≤ 3 V DC) to the buried polysilicon electrode, we showed in vitro repeatable modulation of membrane permeability of two model analytes—methotrexate and quantum dots. Methotrexate is a first-line therapeutic approach for rheumatoid arthritis; quantum dots represent multi-functional nanoparticles with broad applicability from bio-labeling to targeted drug delivery. Importantly, SiC coating demonstrated optimal properties as a gate dielectric, which rendered our membrane relevant for multiple applications beyond drug delivery, such as lab on a chip and micro total analysis systems (µTAS).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number679
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Controlled drug release
  • Electrostatic gating
  • Nanofluidic diffusion
  • Silicon membrane
  • Smart drug delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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