The use of polybutene for controlling the flow of liquids in centrifugal microfluidic systems

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The field of centrifugal microfluidics has evolved over the last several decades to allow implementation of complex biological and chemical assays on Lab-on-Disc (LOD) platforms. Present study describes the use of polymer polybutene for tuning hydrophobic siphons and for liquid volume definition on a centrifugal microfluidic platform. Both the siphon tuning and the volume definition steps are carried out by generating negative pressure that results from the volume expansion caused by the transfer of polybutene from a dedicated chamber into a secondary reservoir via a connecting siphon. The hydrophobic valve of the chamber that holds polybutene bursts open at specific angular velocities that depend on the height and density of the liquid column. Thus, the parameters of siphon activation can be adjusted by tuning the burst angular velocity of the valve that is driven by filling the tuning reservoir with a specific volume of polybutene. The same disc construction can be utilized to provide volume definition functionality to transfer liquids from one reservoir to another reservoir in as many fractions as there are immiscible liquids of different densities in the tuning chamber. The presented work also demonstrates the use of polybutene in sealing fluidic chambers to improve heating efficiency and to minimize evaporation during thermal cycling required for applications such as PCR amplification. Finally, the use of polybutene as a stationary liquid phase in droplet production on a spinning disc is demonstrated.

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The authors would like to thank Sanaz Moslemi-Asl for her assistance with the graphics and Sheldon Smilo (OmegaTek) for the spinning disc image acquisition/processing. This work was supported by the National Institute of Health Grant 1 R01 AI089541-01.

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Correspondence to Salar Soroori.

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Soroori, S., Rodriguez-Delgado, J.M., Kido, H. et al. The use of polybutene for controlling the flow of liquids in centrifugal microfluidic systems. Microfluid Nanofluid 20, 26 (2016) doi:10.1007/s10404-015-1677-y

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  • Viscoelastic material
  • Polybutene
  • Centrifugal microfluidics
  • Hydrophobic siphon
  • Tuning valve
  • Volume definition
  • Liquid polymer