Microfluidic plug steering using surface acoustic waves

Muhsincan Sesen, Tuncay Alan, Adrian Neild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Digital microfluidic systems, in which isolated droplets are dispersed in a carrier medium, offer a method to study biological assays and chemical reactions highly efficiently. However, it's challenging to manipulate these droplets in closed microchannel devices. Here, we present a method to selectively steer plugs (droplets with diameters larger than the channel's width) at a specially designed Y-junction within a microfluidic chip. The method makes use of surface acoustic waves (SAWs) impinging on a multiphase interface in which an acoustic contrast is present. As a result, the liquid–liquid interface is subjected to acoustic radiation forces. These forces are exploited to steer plugs into selected branches of the Y-junction. Furthermore, the input power can be finely tuned to split a plug into two uneven plugs. The steering of plugs as a whole, based on plug volume and velocity is thoroughly characterized. The results indicate that there is a threshold plug volume after which the steering requires elevated electrical energy input. This plug steering method can easily be integrated to existing lab-on-a-chip devices and it offers a robust and active plug manipulation technique in closed microchannels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3030 - 3038
Number of pages9
JournalLab on a Chip
Volume15
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this

Sesen, Muhsincan ; Alan, Tuncay ; Neild, Adrian. / Microfluidic plug steering using surface acoustic waves. In: Lab on a Chip. 2015 ; Vol. 15, No. 14. pp. 3030 - 3038.
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title = "Microfluidic plug steering using surface acoustic waves",
abstract = "Digital microfluidic systems, in which isolated droplets are dispersed in a carrier medium, offer a method to study biological assays and chemical reactions highly efficiently. However, it's challenging to manipulate these droplets in closed microchannel devices. Here, we present a method to selectively steer plugs (droplets with diameters larger than the channel's width) at a specially designed Y-junction within a microfluidic chip. The method makes use of surface acoustic waves (SAWs) impinging on a multiphase interface in which an acoustic contrast is present. As a result, the liquid–liquid interface is subjected to acoustic radiation forces. These forces are exploited to steer plugs into selected branches of the Y-junction. Furthermore, the input power can be finely tuned to split a plug into two uneven plugs. The steering of plugs as a whole, based on plug volume and velocity is thoroughly characterized. The results indicate that there is a threshold plug volume after which the steering requires elevated electrical energy input. This plug steering method can easily be integrated to existing lab-on-a-chip devices and it offers a robust and active plug manipulation technique in closed microchannels.",
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Microfluidic plug steering using surface acoustic waves. / Sesen, Muhsincan; Alan, Tuncay; Neild, Adrian.

In: Lab on a Chip, Vol. 15, No. 14, 2015, p. 3030 - 3038.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Microfluidic plug steering using surface acoustic waves

AU - Sesen, Muhsincan

AU - Alan, Tuncay

AU - Neild, Adrian

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Digital microfluidic systems, in which isolated droplets are dispersed in a carrier medium, offer a method to study biological assays and chemical reactions highly efficiently. However, it's challenging to manipulate these droplets in closed microchannel devices. Here, we present a method to selectively steer plugs (droplets with diameters larger than the channel's width) at a specially designed Y-junction within a microfluidic chip. The method makes use of surface acoustic waves (SAWs) impinging on a multiphase interface in which an acoustic contrast is present. As a result, the liquid–liquid interface is subjected to acoustic radiation forces. These forces are exploited to steer plugs into selected branches of the Y-junction. Furthermore, the input power can be finely tuned to split a plug into two uneven plugs. The steering of plugs as a whole, based on plug volume and velocity is thoroughly characterized. The results indicate that there is a threshold plug volume after which the steering requires elevated electrical energy input. This plug steering method can easily be integrated to existing lab-on-a-chip devices and it offers a robust and active plug manipulation technique in closed microchannels.

AB - Digital microfluidic systems, in which isolated droplets are dispersed in a carrier medium, offer a method to study biological assays and chemical reactions highly efficiently. However, it's challenging to manipulate these droplets in closed microchannel devices. Here, we present a method to selectively steer plugs (droplets with diameters larger than the channel's width) at a specially designed Y-junction within a microfluidic chip. The method makes use of surface acoustic waves (SAWs) impinging on a multiphase interface in which an acoustic contrast is present. As a result, the liquid–liquid interface is subjected to acoustic radiation forces. These forces are exploited to steer plugs into selected branches of the Y-junction. Furthermore, the input power can be finely tuned to split a plug into two uneven plugs. The steering of plugs as a whole, based on plug volume and velocity is thoroughly characterized. The results indicate that there is a threshold plug volume after which the steering requires elevated electrical energy input. This plug steering method can easily be integrated to existing lab-on-a-chip devices and it offers a robust and active plug manipulation technique in closed microchannels.

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