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Issue 11, 2005
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Thermally-actuated, phase change flow control for microfluidic systems

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Abstract

An easy to implement, thermally-actuated, noninvasive method for flow control in microfluidic devices is described. This technique takes advantage of the phase change of the working liquid itself—the freezing and melting of a portion of a liquid slug—to noninvasively close and open flow passages (referred to as a phase change valve). The valve was designed for use in a miniature diagnostic system for detecting pathogens in oral fluids at the point of care. The paper describes the modeling, construction, and characteristics of the valve. The experimental results favorably agree with theoretical predictions. In addition, the paper demonstrates the use of the phase change valves for flow control, sample metering and distribution into multiple analysis paths, sealing of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) chamber, and sample introduction into and withdrawal from a closed loop. The phase change valve is electronically addressable, does not require any moving parts, introduces only minimal dead volume, is leakage and contamination free, and is biocompatible.

Graphical abstract: Thermally-actuated, phase change flow control for microfluidic systems

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Jun 2005, accepted on 26 Aug 2005 and first published on 21 Sep 2005


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B508275G
Citation: Lab Chip, 2005,5, 1277-1285
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    Thermally-actuated, phase change flow control for microfluidic systems

    Z. Chen, J. Wang, S. Qian and H. H. Bau, Lab Chip, 2005, 5, 1277
    DOI: 10.1039/B508275G

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