Flow control for lateral flow strips with centrifugal microfluidics†
Lateral flow strips (LFSs) are widely used for clinical diagnostics. The restricted flow control of the current designs is one challenge to the development of quantitative and highly sensitive LFSs. Here, we present a flow control for LFSs using centrifugal microfluidics. In contrast to previously presented implementations of lateral flow membranes into centrifugal microfluidic cartridges, we direct the flow radially outwards through the membrane. We control the flow using only the centrifugal force, thus it is independent of membrane wetting properties and permeability. The flow rate can be decreased and increased, enabling control of incubation times for a wide variety of samples. We deduced a formula as a guideline for the integration of chromatographic membranes into centrifugal microfluidic disks to ensure that all the sample liquid flows through the membrane, hence safely avoiding bypass flow around the membrane. We verified the calculated operation conditions using different membranes, different flow rates, and different sample viscosities.