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Issue 5, 2007
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Microfluidic pressure sensing using trapped air compression

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We have developed a microfluidic method for measuring the fluid pressure head experienced at any location inside a microchannel. The principal component is a microfabricated sealed chamber with a single inlet and no exit; the entrance to the single inlet is positioned at the location where pressure is to be measured. The pressure measurement is then based on monitoring the movement of a liquid–air interface as it compresses air trapped inside the microfabricated sealed chamber and calculating the pressure using the ideal gas law. The method has been used to measure the pressure of the air stream and continuous liquid flow inside microfluidic channels (d ∼ 50 µm). Further, a pressure drop has also been measured using multiple microfabricated sealed chambers. For air pressure, a resolution of 700 Pa within a full-scale range of 700–100 kPa was obtained. For liquids, pressure drops as low as 70 Pa were obtained in an operating range from 70 Pa to 10 kPa. Since the method primarily uses a microfluidic sealed chamber, it does not require additional fabrication steps and may easily be incorporated in several lab-on-a-chip fluidic applications for laminar as well as turbulent flow conditions.

Graphical abstract: Microfluidic pressure sensing using trapped air compression

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Nov 2006, accepted on 15 Feb 2007 and first published on 04 Apr 2007

Article type: Technical Note
DOI: 10.1039/B617067F
Citation: Lab Chip, 2007,7, 633-637
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    Microfluidic pressure sensing using trapped air compression

    N. Srivastava and M. A. Burns, Lab Chip, 2007, 7, 633
    DOI: 10.1039/B617067F

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