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Issue 11, 2013
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Preprogrammed capillarity to passively control system-level sequential and parallel microfluidic flows

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Abstract

In microfluidics, capillarity-driven solution flow is often beneficial, owing to its inherently spontaneous motion. However, it is commonly perceived that, in an integrated microfluidic system, the passive capillarity control alone can hardly achieve well-controlled sequential and parallel flow of multiple solutions. Despite this common notion, we hereby demonstrate system-level sequential and parallel microfluidic flow processing by fully passive capillarity-driven control. After manual loading of solutions with a pipette, a network of microfluidic channels passively regulates the flow timing of the multiple solution menisci in a sequential and synchronous manner. Also, use of auxiliary channels and preprogramming of inlet-well meniscus pressure and channel fluidic conductance allow for controlling the flow direction of multiple solutions in our microfluidic system. With those components orchestrated in a single device chip, we show preprogrammed flow control of 10 solutions. The demonstrated system-level flow control proves capillarity as a useful means even for sophisticated microfluidic processing without any actively controlled valves and pumps.

Graphical abstract: Preprogrammed capillarity to passively control system-level sequential and parallel microfluidic flows

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Article information


Submitted
09 Feb 2013
Accepted
21 Mar 2013
First published
21 Mar 2013

Lab Chip, 2013,13, 2091-2098
Article type
Paper

Preprogrammed capillarity to passively control system-level sequential and parallel microfluidic flows

S. Kim, S. Paczesny, S. Takayama and K. Kurabayashi, Lab Chip, 2013, 13, 2091
DOI: 10.1039/C3LC50187F

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