Rigorous buoyancy driven bubble mixing for centrifugal microfluidics†
We present batch-mode mixing for centrifugal microfluidics operated at fixed rotational frequency. Gas is generated by the disk integrated decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to liquid water (H2O) and gaseous oxygen (O2) and inserted into a mixing chamber. There, bubbles are formed that ascent through the liquid in the artificial gravity field and lead to drag flow. Additionaly, strong buoyancy causes deformation and rupture of the gas bubbles and induces strong mixing flows in the liquids. Buoyancy driven bubble mixing is quantitatively compared to shake mode mixing, mixing by reciprocation and vortex mixing. To determine mixing efficiencies in a meaningful way, the different mixers are employed for mixing of a lysis reagent and human whole blood. Subsequently, DNA is extracted from the lysate and the amount of DNA recovered is taken as a measure for mixing efficiency. Relative to standard vortex mixing, DNA extraction based on buoyancy driven bubble mixing resulted in yields of 92 ± 8% (100 s mixing time) and 100 ± 8% (600 s) at 130g centrifugal acceleration. Shake mode mixing yields 96 ± 11% and is thus equal to buoyancy driven bubble mixing. An advantage of buoyancy driven bubble mixing is that it can be operated at fixed rotational frequency, however. The additional costs of implementing buoyancy driven bubble mixing are low since both the activation liquid and the catalyst are very low cost and no external means are required in the processing device. Furthermore, buoyancy driven bubble mixing can easily be integrated in a monolithic manner and is compatible to scalable manufacturing technologies such as injection moulding or thermoforming. We consider buoyancy driven bubble mixing an excellent alternative to shake mode mixing, in particular if the processing device is not capable of providing fast changes of rotational frequency or if the low average rotational frequency is challenging for the other integrated fluidic operations.