A fast microfluidic mixer based on acoustically driven sidewall-trapped microbubbles
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Due to the low Reynolds number associated with microscale fluid flow, it is difficult to rapidly and homogenously mix two fluids. In this letter, we report a fast and homogenized mixing device through the use of a bubble-based microfluidic structure. This micromixing device worked by trapping air bubbles within the pre-designed grooves on the sidewalls of the channel. When acoustically driven, the membranes (liquid/air interfaces) of these trapped bubbles started to oscillate. The bubble oscillation resulted in a microstreaming phenomenon—strong pressure and velocity fluctuations in the bulk liquid, thus giving rise to fast and homogenized mixing of two side-by-side flowing fluids. The performance of the mixer was characterized by mixing deionized water and ink at different flow rates. The mixing time was measured to be as small as 120 ms.
KeywordsMicrofluidics Rapid mixing Bubble-trap Acoustic microstreaming
Authors thank Madineh Sarvestani, Thomas Walker, and Aitan Lawit for helpful discussion and Tristan Tabouillot for assistance in experiments. This research was supported by National Science Foundation (ECCS-0824183 and ECCS-0801922) and the Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science (MRSEC). Components of this work were conducted at the Penn State node of the NSF-funded National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network.
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