Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 12, Issue 1–4, pp 221–228 | Cite as

Optothermal sample preconcentration and manipulation with temperature gradient focusing

  • M. Akbari
  • M. Bahrami
  • D. SintonEmail author
Research Paper


In this article, we present an optothermal analyte preconcentration method based on temperature gradient focusing. This approach offers a flexible, noninvasive technique for focusing and transporting charged analytes in microfluidics using light energy. The method uses the optical field control provided by a digital projector as established for particle manipulation, to achieve analogous functionality for molecular analytes for the first time. The optothermal heating system is characterized and the ability to control of the heated zone location, size, and power is demonstrated. The method is applied to concentrate a sample model analyte, along a microcapillary, resulting in almost 500-fold local concentration increase in 15 min. Optically controlled upstream and downstream transport of a focused analyte band is demonstrated with a heater velocity of ∼170 μm/min.


Optothermal Temperature gradient focusing Preconcentration Analyte manipulation Microfluidics 



The authors thank the financial support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada NSERC through discovery grants to MB and DS, BC Innovation Council (BCIC) through research scholarship to MA, and the Canada Research Chair Program.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechatronic Systems EngineeringSimon Fraser UniversitySurreyCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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