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Issue 6, 2006
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A microfluidic multi-injector for gradient generation

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This paper describes a microfluidic multi-injector (MMI) that can generate temporal and spatial concentration gradients of soluble molecules. Compared to conventional glass micropipette-based methods that generate a single gradient, the MMI exploits microfluidic integration and actuation of multiple pulsatile injectors to generate arbitrary overlapping gradients that have not previously been possible. The MMI device is fabricated in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) using multi-layer soft lithography and consists of fluidic channels and control channels with pneumatically actuated on-chip barrier valves. Repetitive actuation of on-chip valves control pulsatile release of solution that establishes microscopic chemical gradients around the orifice. The volume of solution released per actuation cycle ranged from 30 picolitres to several hundred picolitres and increased linearly with the duration of valve opening. The shape of the measured gradient profile agreed closely with the simulated diffusion profile from a point source. Steady state gradient profiles could be attained within 10 minutes, or less with an optimized pulse sequence. Overlapping gradients from 2 injectors were generated and characterized to highlight the advantages of MMI over conventional micropipette assays. The MMI platform should be useful for a wide range of basic and applied studies on chemotaxis and axon guidance.

Graphical abstract: A microfluidic multi-injector for gradient generation

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Article information

07 Sep 2005
13 Mar 2006
First published
06 Apr 2006

Lab Chip, 2006,6, 764-768
Article type

A microfluidic multi-injector for gradient generation

B. G. Chung, F. Lin and N. L. Jeon, Lab Chip, 2006, 6, 764
DOI: 10.1039/B512667C

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