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Issue 2, 2006
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Recirculating, passive micromixer with a novel sawtooth structure

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A microfluidic device capable of recirculating nano to microlitre volumes in order to efficiently mix solutions is described. The device consists of molded polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS) channels with pressure inlet and outlet holes sealed by a glass lid. Recirculation is accomplished by a repeatedly reciprocated flow over an iterated sawtooth structure. The sawtooth structure serves to change the fluid velocity of individual streamlines differently depending on whether the fluid is flowing backwards or forward over the structure. Thus, individual streamlines can be accelerated or decelerated relative to the other streamlines to allow sections of the fluid to interact that would normally be linearly separated. Low Reynolds numbers imply that the process is reversible, neglecting diffusion. Computer simulations were carried out using FLUENT. Subsequently, fluorescent indicators were employed to experimentally verify these numerical simulations of the recirculation principal. Finally, mixing of a carboxyfluorescein labeled DMSO plug with an unlabeled DMSO plug across an immiscible hydrocarbon plug was investigated. At cycling rates of 1 Hz across five sawtooth units, the time was recorded to reach steady state in the channels, i.e. until both DMSO plugs had the same fluorescence intensity. In the case of the sawtooth structures, steady state was reached five times faster than in channels without sawtooth structures, which verified what would be expected based on numerical simulations. The microfluidic mixer is unique due to its versatility with respect to scaling, its potential to also mix solutions containing small particles such as beads and cells, and its ease of fabrication and use.

Graphical abstract: Recirculating, passive micromixer with a novel sawtooth structure

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Jun 2005, accepted on 09 Nov 2005 and first published on 08 Dec 2005

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B509034B
Citation: Lab Chip, 2006,6, 242-246
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    Recirculating, passive micromixer with a novel sawtooth structure

    K. P. Nichols, J. R. Ferullo and A. J. Baeumner, Lab Chip, 2006, 6, 242
    DOI: 10.1039/B509034B

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