Tailoring width of microfabricated nanochannels to solute size can be used to control diffusion kinetics

Frank Martin, Robbie Walczak, Anthony Boiarski, Michael Cohen, Teri West, Carlo Cosentino, Mauro Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Top-down microfabrication techniques were used to create silicon-based membranes consisting of arrays of uniform channels having a width as small as 7 nm. The measurement of diffusion kinetics of solutes across these membranes under sink conditions reveals non-Fickian behavior as the nanopore width approaches the hydrodynamic diameter of the solute. Zero-order diffusion of interferon is observed at channel width of 20 nm, and the same phenomenon occurs with albumin and 13-nm-wide channels, whereas Fickian diffusion kinetics is seen at 26 nm and larger pore sizes. A prototypical drug delivery device is described that is fitted with a 13-nm nanopore membrane and loaded with radio-labeled BSA. Following subcutaneous implantation in rats, diffusion from the device provided prolonged levels of BSA in the blood. Such a nonmechanical device offers important advantages in drug delivery applications, including zero-order release and high loading capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2005


  • Microfabrication
  • Nanochannels
  • Nanopore membranes
  • Silicon membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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