A Venturi microregulator array module for distributed pressure control
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Pressure-driven flow control systems are a critical component in many microfluidic devices. Compartmentalization of this functionality into a stand-alone module possessing a simple interface would allow reduction of the number of pneumatic interconnects required for fluidic control. Ideally, such a module would also be sufficiently compact for implementation in portable platforms. In our current work, we show the feasibility of using a modular array of Venturi pressure microregulators for coordinated droplet manipulation. The arrayed microregulators share a single pressure input and are capable of outputting electronically controlled pressures that can be independently set between ±1.3 kPa. Because the Venturi microregulator operates by thermal perturbation of a choked gas flow, this output range corresponds to a temperature variation between 20 and 95°C. Using the array, we demonstrate loading, splitting, merging, and independent movement of multiple droplets in a valveless microchannel network.
KeywordsPressure regulator Micronozzle Valveless microchannel network
We thank Brian Johnson for indispensable help in LabVIEW operation and cleanroom maintenance. The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of this work through several grants from the National Institutes of Health (5-R01-AI049541-06 and 1-R01-EB006789-01A2). The authors would like to thank the staff and members of the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Michigan for their assistance in device fabrication.
Loading, merging, and splitting of DI water droplets using the experimental setup shown in Fig. 8. Supplementary material (MPEG 6198 kb)
Multiple droplet control using the experimental setup shown in Fig. 8. One droplet of DI water is split into two volumes, one of which is moved while the other is held stationary. Supplementary material (MPEG 6322 kb)