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Issue 4, 2003
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Rapid droplet mixers for digital microfluidic systems

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The mixing of analytes and reagents for a biological or chemical lab-on-a-chip is an important, yet difficult, microfluidic operation. As volumes approach the sub-nanoliter regime, the mixing of liquids is hindered by laminar flow conditions. An electrowetting-based linear-array droplet mixer has previously been reported. However, fixed geometric parameters and the presence of flow reversibility have prevented even faster droplet mixing times. In this paper, we study the effects of varying droplet aspect ratios (height ∶ diameter) on linear-array droplet mixers, and propose mixing strategies applicable for both high and low aspect ratio systems. An optimal aspect ratio for four electrode linear-array mixing was found to be 0.4, with a mixing time of 4.6 seconds. Mixing times were further reduced at this ratio to less than three seconds using a two-dimensional array mixer, which eliminates the effects of flow reversibility. For lower aspect ratio (≤0.2) systems, we present a split-and-merge mixer that takes advantage of the ability to perform droplet splitting at these ratios, resulting in a mixing time of less than two seconds.

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Jul 2003, accepted on 22 Aug 2003 and first published on 12 Sep 2003

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B307628H
Citation: Lab Chip, 2003,3, 253-259
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    Rapid droplet mixers for digital microfluidic systems

    P. Paik, V. K. Pamula and R. B. Fair, Lab Chip, 2003, 3, 253
    DOI: 10.1039/B307628H

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