Reciprocating flow-based centrifugal microfluidics mixer

Noroozi, Zahra; Kido, Horacio; Micic, Miodrag; Pan, Hansheng; Bartolome, Christian; Princevac, Marko; Zoval, Jim; Madou, Marc
July 2009
Review of Scientific Instruments;Jul2009, Vol. 80 Issue 7, p075102
Academic Journal
Proper mixing of reagents is of paramount importance for an efficient chemical reaction. While on a large scale there are many good solutions for quantitative mixing of reagents, as of today, efficient and inexpensive fluid mixing in the nanoliter and microliter volume range is still a challenge. Complete, i.e., quantitative mixing is of special importance in any small-scale analytical application because the scarcity of analytes and the low volume of the reagents demand efficient utilization of all available reaction components. In this paper we demonstrate the design and fabrication of a novel centrifugal force-based unit for fast mixing of fluids in the nanoliter to microliter volume range. The device consists of a number of chambers (including two loading chambers, one pressure chamber, and one mixing chamber) that are connected through a network of microchannels, and is made by bonding a slab of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to a glass slide. The PDMS slab was cast using a SU-8 master mold fabricated by a two-level photolithography process. This microfluidic mixer exploits centrifugal force and pneumatic pressure to reciprocate the flow of fluid samples in order to minimize the amount of sample and the time of mixing. The process of mixing was monitored by utilizing the planar laser induced fluorescence (PLIF) technique. A time series of high resolution images of the mixing chamber were analyzed for the spatial distribution of light intensities as the two fluids (suspension of red fluorescent particles and water) mixed. Histograms of the fluorescent emissions within the mixing chamber during different stages of the mixing process were created to quantify the level of mixing of the mixing fluids. The results suggest that quantitative mixing was achieved in less than 3 min. This device can be employed as a stand alone mixing unit or may be integrated into a disk-based microfluidic system where, in addition to mixing, several other sample preparation steps may be included.


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