Versatile platform for performing protocols on a chip utilizing surface acoustic wave (SAW) driven mixing

Yaqi Zhang, Citsabehsan Devendran, Christopher Lupton, Alex De Marco, Adrian Neild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


We present and demonstrate a dextrous microfluidic device which features a reaction chamber with volume flexibility. This feature is critical for developing protocols directly on chip when the exact reaction is not yet defined, enabling bio/chemical reactions on chip to be performed without volumetric restrictions. This is achieved by the integration of single layer valves (for reagent dispensing) and surface acoustic wave excitation (for rapid reagent mixing). We show that a single layer valve can control the delivery of fluid into, an initially air-filled, mixing chamber. This chamber arrangement offers flexibility in the relative volume of reagents used, and so offers the capability to not only conduct, but also develop protocols on a chip. To enable this potential, we have integrated a SAW based mixer into the system, and characterised its mixing time based on frequency and power of excitation. Numerical simulations on the streaming pattern inside the chamber were conducted to probe the underlying physics of the experimental system. To demonstrate the on-chip protocol capability, the system was utilised to perform protein crystallization. Furthermore, the effect of rapid mixing, results in a significant increase in crystal size uniformity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-271
Number of pages10
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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