New generation of spinning systems for robust active mixing on microfluidic CDs: oil/water emulsion as an evaluation test
Microfluidic CDs (or Lab-on-Disc) continue to emerge in various applications of real life sciences, including biomedical and pharmaceutical fields. However, microfluidic CDs with advanced and efficient unit operation tools, such as pumping, valving, and mixing, need to be implemented to achieve the required applications in these fields. In this work, a novel generation of a spinning system to perform robust active mixing is developed for microfluidic CDs. The developed system is equipped with a dual-motor and dual-CD configuration to perform magnetically driven active mixing. The results show that the developed spinning system can provide a wide range of mixing frequencies independent of the spinning speed of the microfluidic CD. To evaluate the performance of this system under extreme conditions, an emulsion process of oil and water was conducted. Although the oil produced high drag force on the mixing magnet, the emulsion process successfully reached a steady state of mixing within a few seconds (approximately 3.5 s), and the mixture became homogeneous at 75 seconds. To demonstrate one of the potential applications of the proposed developed spinning setup, microparticles were successfully extracted from water to oil using water/oil emulsion on the microfluidic CD. In conclusion, mixing can be performed without influencing the integrated microfluidic components such as valves or pumps. This improvement can widen the range of applicability of microfluidic CDs in multi-step and complex processes where mixing is essential.