Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 871–878 | Cite as

A microfluidic device for thermal particle detection

  • Ashwin Kumar Vutha
  • Benyamin Davaji
  • Chung Hoon Lee
  • Glenn M. Walker
Research Paper


We demonstrate the use of heat to count microscopic particles. A thermal particle detector (TPD) was fabricated by combining a 500-nm-thick silicon nitride membrane containing a thin-film resistive temperature detector with a silicone elastomer microchannel. Particles with diameters of 90 and 200 μm created relative temperature changes of 0.11 and −0.44 K, respectively, as they flowed by the sensor. A first-order lumped thermal model was developed to predict the temperature changes. Multiple particles were counted in series to demonstrate the utility of the TPD as a particle counter.


Microfluidics Particle counting Thermal 



We thank Clement Kleinstreuer and John Sader for helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashwin Kumar Vutha
    • 2
  • Benyamin Davaji
    • 3
  • Chung Hoon Lee
    • 3
  • Glenn M. Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint Department of Biomedical EngineeringUNC Chapel Hill and NC State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear EngineeringRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  3. 3.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringMarquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA

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