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Closed-loop feedback control for microfluidic systems through automated capacitive fluid height sensing

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Abstract

Precise fluid height sensing in open-channel microfluidics has long been a desirable feature for a wide range of applications. However, performing accurate measurements of the fluid level in small-scale reservoirs (<1 mL) has proven to be an elusive goal, especially if direct fluid-sensor contact needs to be avoided. In particular, gravity-driven systems used in several microfluidic applications to establish pressure gradients and impose flow remain open-loop and largely unmonitored due to these sensing limitations. Here we present an optimized self-shielded coplanar capacitive sensor design and automated control system to provide submillimeter fluid-height resolution (∼250 μm) and control of small-scale open reservoirs without the need for direct fluid contact. Results from testing and validation of our optimized sensor and system also suggest that accurate fluid height information can be used to robustly characterize, calibrate and dynamically control a range of microfluidic systems with complex pumping mechanisms, even in cell culture conditions. Capacitive sensing technology provides a scalable and cost-effective way to enable continuous monitoring and closed-loop feedback control of fluid volumes in small-scale gravity-dominated wells in a variety of microfluidic applications.

Graphical abstract: Closed-loop feedback control for microfluidic systems through automated capacitive fluid height sensing

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Nov 2017, accepted on 02 Feb 2018 and first published on 05 Feb 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7LC01223C
Citation: Lab Chip, 2018, Advance Article
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    Closed-loop feedback control for microfluidic systems through automated capacitive fluid height sensing

    L. R. Soenksen, T. Kassis, M. Noh, L. G. Griffith and D. L. Trumper, Lab Chip, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7LC01223C

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