Microfluidic measurements of drug dissolution using a quartz crystal microbalance

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title

ASME 2016 Summer Heat Transfer Conference/5th Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Summer Meeting /14th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels


Washington, D.C.

Conference Dates

July 10-14, 2016

Date of Presentation



This work describes a microfluidic drug dissolution testing method that was developed using a commercial quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) resonator combined with an axial microfluidic flow cell. Dissolution testing is used to obtain temporal dissolution profiles of drugs, which provide information on the bioavailability or the drug’s ability to be completely dissolved and then absorbed and utilized by the body. Feasibility of the QCM dissolution testing method was demonstrated using a sample drug system of thin films of benzoic acid dissolved in water, capturing the drug dissolution profile under different microflow conditions. Our analysis method uses the responses of resonance frequency and resistance of the quartz crystal during dissolution testing to determine the characteristic profiles of benzoic acid dissolved over a range of microflows (10–1000 μL/min). The initial dissolution rates were obtained from the characteristic profiles and found to increase with higher flow rates. This aligns with the expected trend of increased dissolution with higher hydrodynamic forces. The QCM-based microfluidic drug dissolution testing method has advantages over conventional dissolution test methods, including reduced sample sizes, rapid test durations, low resource requirements, and flow conditions that more closely model in vivo conditions.