A micron-resolution particle image velocimetry (micro-PIV) system has been developed to measure instantaneous and ensemble-averaged flow fields in micron-scale fluidic devices. The system utilizes an epifluorescent microscope, 100–300 nm diameter seed particles, and an intensified CCD camera to record high-resolution particle-image fields. Velocity vector fields can be measured with spatial resolutions down to 6.9×6.9×1.5 μm. The vector fields are analyzed using a double-frame cross-correlation algorithm. In this technique, the spatial resolution and the accuracy of the velocity measurements is limited by the diffraction limit of the recording optics, noise in the particle image field, and the interaction of the fluid with the finite-sized seed particles. The stochastic influence of Brownian motion plays a significant role in the accuracy of instantaneous velocity measurements. The micro-PIV technique is applied to measure velocities in a Hele–Shaw flow around a 30 μm (major diameter) elliptical cylinder, with a bulk velocity of approximately 50 μm s-1.
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