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Issue 3, 2013
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A nanoliter-scale open chemical reactor

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An open chemical reactor is a container that exchanges matter with the exterior. Well-mixed open chemical reactors, called continuous stirred tank reactors (CSTR), have been instrumental for investigating the dynamics of out-of-equilibrium chemical processes, such as oscillations, bistability, and chaos. Here, we introduce a microfluidic CSTR, called μCSTR, that reduces reagent consumption by six orders of magnitude. It consists of an annular reactor with four inlets and one outlet fabricated in PDMS using multi-layer soft lithography. A monolithic peristaltic pump feeds fresh reagents into the reactor through the inlets. After each injection the content of the reactor is continuously mixed with a second peristaltic pump. The efficiency of the μCSTR is experimentally characterized using a bromate, sulfite, ferrocyanide pH oscillator. Simulations accounting for the digital injection process are in agreement with experimental results. The low consumption of the μCSTR will be advantageous for investigating out-of-equilibrium dynamics of chemical processes involving biomolecules. These studies have been scarce so far because a miniaturized version of a CSTR was not available.

Graphical abstract: A nanoliter-scale open chemical reactor

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Article information

07 Jun 2012
07 Nov 2012
First published
09 Nov 2012

Lab Chip, 2013,13, 415-423
Article type

A nanoliter-scale open chemical reactor

J. Galas, A. Haghiri-Gosnet and A. Estévez-Torres, Lab Chip, 2013, 13, 415
DOI: 10.1039/C2LC40649G

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