Phaseguides as tunable passive microvalves for liquid routing in complex microfluidic networks†
A microfluidic passive valving platform is introduced that has full control over the stability of each valve. The concept is based on phaseguides, which are small ridges at the bottom of a channel acting as pinning barriers. It is shown that the angle between the phaseguide and the channel sidewall is a measure of the stability of the phaseguide. The relationship between the phaseguide–wall angle and the stability is characterized numerically, analytically and experimentally. Liquid routing is enabled by using multiple phaseguide with different stability values. This is demonstrated by filling complex chamber matrices. As an ultimate demonstration of control, a 400-chamber network is used as a pixel array. It is the first time that differential stability is demonstrated in the realm of passive valving. It ultimately enables microfluidic devices for massive data generation in a low-cost disposable format.