Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 74

Search results for: microfluidics

74 Fabrication of Highly-Ordered Interconnected Porous Polymeric Particles and Structures

Authors: Mohammad Alroaithi


Porous polymeric materials have attracted a great attention due to their distinctive porous structure within a polymer matrix. They are characterised by the presence of external pores on the surface as well as inner interconnected windows. Conventional techniques to produce porous polymeric materials encounters major challenge in controlling the properties of the resultant structures including morphology, pores, cavities size, and porosity. Herein, we present a facile and versatile microfluidics technique for the fabrication of uniform porous polymeric structures with highly ordered and well-defined interconnected windows. The shapes of the porous structures can either be a microparticles or foam. Both shapes used microfluidics platform to first produce monodisperse emulsion. The uniform emulsions, were then consolidated into porous structures through UV photopolymerisation. The morphology, pores, cavities size, and porosity of the structures can be precisely manipulated by the flowrate. The proposed strategy might provide a key advantage for fabrication of uniform porous materials over many existing technologies.

Keywords: polymer, porous particles, microfluidics, porous structures

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73 Sheathless, Viscoelastic Circulating Tumor Cell Separation Using Closed-Loop Microfluidics

Authors: Hyunjung Lim, Jeonghun Nam, Hyuk Choi


High-throughput separation is an essential technique for cancer research and diagnosis. Here, we propose a viscoelastic microfluidic device for sheathless, high-throughput isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from white blood cells. Here, we demonstrate a viscoelastic method for separation and concentration of CTCs using closed-loop microfluidics. Our device is a rectangular straight channel with a low aspect ratio. Also, to achieve high-efficiency, high-throughput processing, we used a polymer solution with low viscosity. At the inlet, CTCs and white blood cells (WBCs) were randomly injected into the microchannel. Due to the viscoelasticity-induced lateral migration to the equilibrium positions, large CTCs could be collected from the side outlet while small WBCs were removed at the center outlet. By recirculating the collected CTCs from the side outlet back to the sample reservoir, continuous separation and concentration of CTCs could be achieved with high separation efficiency (~ 99%). We believe that our device has the potential to be applied in resource-limited clinical settings.

Keywords: circulating tumor cell, closed-loop microfluidics, concentration, separation, viscoelastic fluid

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72 Development of Colorimetric Based Microfluidic Platform for Quantification of Fluid Contaminants

Authors: Sangeeta Palekar, Mahima Rana, Jayu Kalambe


In this paper, a microfluidic-based platform for the quantification of contaminants in the water is proposed. The proposed system uses microfluidic channels with an embedded environment for contaminants detection in water. Microfluidics-based platforms present an evident stage of innovation for fluid analysis, with different applications advancing minimal efforts and simplicity of fabrication. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based microfluidics channel is fabricated using a soft lithography technique. Vertical and horizontal connections for fluid dispensing with the microfluidic channel are explored. The principle of colorimetry, which incorporates the use of Griess reagent for the detection of nitrite, has been adopted. Nitrite has high water solubility and water retention, due to which it has a greater potential to stay in groundwater, endangering aquatic life along with human health, hence taken as a case study in this work. The developed platform also compares the detection methodology, containing photodetectors for measuring absorbance and image sensors for measuring color change for quantification of contaminants like nitrite in water. The utilization of image processing techniques offers the advantage of operational flexibility, as the same system can be used to identify other contaminants present in water by introducing minor software changes.

Keywords: colorimetric, fluid contaminants, nitrite detection, microfluidics

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71 A Simplified, Fabrication-Friendly Acoustophoretic Model for Size Sensitive Particle Sorting

Authors: V. Karamzadeh, J. Adhvaryu, A. Chandrasekaran, M. Packirisamy


In Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) microfluidics, the throughput of particle sorting is dependent on the complex interplay between the geometric configuration of the channel, the size of the particles, and the properties of the fluid medium, which therefore calls for a detailed modeling and understanding of the fluid-particle interaction dynamics under an acoustic field, prior to designing the system. In this work, we propose a simplified Bulk acoustophoretic system that can be used for size dependent particle sorting. A Finite Element Method (FEM) based analytical model has been developed to study the dependence of particle sizes on channel parameters, and the sorting efficiency in a given fluid medium. Based on the results, the microfluidic system has been designed to take into account all the variables involved with the underlying physics, and has been fabricated using an additive manufacturing technique employing a commercial 3D printer, to generate a simple, cost-effective system that can be used for size sensitive particle sorting.

Keywords: 3D printing, 3D microfluidic chip, acoustophoresis, cell separation, MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems), microfluidics

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70 CFD-DEM Modelling and Analysis of the Continuous Separation of Sized Particles Using Inertial Microfluidics

Authors: Hui Zhu, Yuan Wang, Shibo Kuang, Aibing Yu


The inertial difference induced by the microfluidics inside a curved micro-channel has great potential to provide a fast, inexpensive, and portable solution to the separation of micro- and sub-micro particles in many applications such as aerosol collections, airborne bacteria and virus detections, as well as particle sortation. In this work, the separation behaviors of different sized particles inside a reported curved micro-channel have been studied by a combined approach of computational fluid dynamics for gas and discrete element model for particles (CFD-DEM). The micro-channel is operated by controlling the gas flow rates at all of its branches respectively used to load particles, introduce gas streams, collect particles of various sizes. The validity of the model has been examined by comparing by the calculated separation efficiency of different sized particles against the measurement. On this basis, the separation mechanisms of the inertial microfluidic separator are elucidated in terms of the interactions between particles, between particle and fluid, and between particle and wall. The model is then used to study the effect of feed solids concentration on the separation accuracy and efficiency. The results obtained from the present study demonstrate that the CFD-DEM approach can provide a convenient way to study the particle separation behaviors in micro-channels of various types.

Keywords: CFD-DEM, inertial effect, microchannel, separation

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69 Direct Visualization of Shear Induced Structures in Wormlike Micellar Solutions by Microfluidics and Advanced Microscopy

Authors: Carla Caiazza, Valentina Preziosi, Giovanna Tomaiuolo, Denis O'Sullivan, Vincenzo Guida, Stefano Guido


In the last decades, wormlike micellar solutions have been extensively used to tune the rheological behavior of home care and personal care products. This and other successful applications underlie the growing attention that both basic and applied research are devoting to these systems, and to their unique rheological and flow properties. One of the key research topics is the occurrence of flow instabilities at high shear rates (such as shear banding), with the possibility of appearance of flow induced structures. In this scenario, microfluidics is a powerful tool to get a deeper insight into the flow behavior of a wormlike micellar solution, as the high confinement of a microfluidic device facilitates the onset of the flow instabilities; furthermore, thanks to its small dimensions, it can be coupled with optical microscopy, allowing a direct visualization of flow structuring phenomena. Here, the flow of a widely used wormlike micellar solution through a glass capillary has been studied, by coupling the microfluidic device with μPIV techniques. The direct visualization of flow-induced structures and the flow visualization analysis highlight a relationship between solution structuring and the onset of discontinuities in the velocity profile.

Keywords: flow instabilities, flow-induced structures, μPIV, wormlike micelles

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68 Study on an Integrated Real-Time Sensor in Droplet-Based Microfluidics

Authors: Tien-Li Chang, Huang-Chi Huang, Zhao-Chi Chen, Wun-Yi Chen


The droplet-based microfluidic are used as micro-reactors for chemical and biological assays. Hence, the precise addition of reagents into the droplets is essential for this function in the scope of lab-on-a-chip applications. To obtain the characteristics (size, velocity, pressure, and frequency of production) of droplets, this study describes an integrated on-chip method of real-time signal detection. By controlling and manipulating the fluids, the flow behavior can be obtained in the droplet-based microfluidics. The detection method is used a type of infrared sensor. Through the varieties of droplets in the microfluidic devices, the real-time conditions of velocity and pressure are gained from the sensors. Here the microfluidic devices are fabricated by polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). To measure the droplets, the signal acquisition of sensor and LabVIEW program control must be established in the microchannel devices. The devices can generate the different size droplets where the flow rate of oil phase is fixed 30 μl/hr and the flow rates of water phase range are from 20 μl/hr to 80 μl/hr. The experimental results demonstrate that the sensors are able to measure the time difference of droplets under the different velocity at the voltage from 0 V to 2 V. Consequently, the droplets are measured the fastest speed of 1.6 mm/s and related flow behaviors that can be helpful to develop and integrate the practical microfluidic applications.

Keywords: microfluidic, droplets, sensors, single detection

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67 Liquid Bridges in a Complex Geometry: Microfluidic Drop Manipulation Inside a Wedge

Authors: D. Baratian, A. Cavalli, D. van den Ende, F. Mugele


The morphology of liquid bridges inside complex geometries is the subject of interest for many years. These efforts try to find stable liquid configuration considering the boundary condition and the physical properties of the system. On the other hand precise manipulation of droplets is highly significant in many microfluidic applications. The liquid configuration in a complex geometry can be switched by means of external stimuli. We show manipulation of droplets in a wedge structure. The profile and position of a drop in a wedge geometry has been calculated analytically assuming negligible contact angle hysteresis. The characteristic length of liquid bridge and its interfacial tension inside the surrounding medium along with the geometrical parameters of the system determine the morphology and equilibrium position of drop in the system. We use electrowetting to modify one the governing parameters to manipulate the droplet. Electrowetting provides the capability to have precise control on the drop position through tuning the voltage and consequently changing the contact angle. This technique is employed to tune drop displacement and control its position inside the wedge. Experiments demonstrate precise drop movement to its predefined position inside the wedge geometry. Experimental results show promising consistency as it is compared to our geometrical model predictions. For such a drop manipulation, appealing applications in microfluidics have been considered.

Keywords: liquid bridges, microfluidics, drop manipulation, wetting, electrowetting, capillarity

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66 Coupling of Microfluidic Droplet Systems with ESI-MS Detection for Reaction Optimization

Authors: Julia R. Beulig, Stefan Ohla, Detlev Belder


In contrast to off-line analytical methods, lab-on-a-chip technology delivers direct information about the observed reaction. Therefore, microfluidic devices make an important scientific contribution, e.g. in the field of synthetic chemistry. Herein, the rapid generation of analytical data can be applied for the optimization of chemical reactions. These microfluidic devices enable a fast change of reaction conditions as well as a resource saving method of operation. In the presented work, we focus on the investigation of multiphase regimes, more specifically on a biphasic microfluidic droplet systems. Here, every single droplet is a reaction container with customized conditions. The biggest challenge is the rapid qualitative and quantitative readout of information as most detection techniques for droplet systems are non-specific, time-consuming or too slow. An exception is the electrospray mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). The combination of a reaction screening platform with a rapid and specific detection method is an important step in droplet-based microfluidics. In this work, we present a novel approach for synthesis optimization on the nanoliter scale with direct ESI-MS detection. The development of a droplet-based microfluidic device, which enables the modification of different parameters while simultaneously monitoring the effect on the reaction within a single run, is shown. By common soft- and photolithographic techniques a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic chip with different functionalities is developed. As an interface for the MS detection, we use a steel capillary for ESI and improve the spray stability with a Teflon siphon tubing, which is inserted underneath the steel capillary. By optimizing the flow rates, it is possible to screen parameters of various reactions, this is exemplarity shown by a Domino Knoevenagel Hetero-Diels-Alder reaction. Different starting materials, catalyst concentrations and solvent compositions are investigated. Due to the high repetition rate of the droplet production, each set of reaction condition is examined hundreds of times. As a result, of the investigation, we receive possible reagents, the ideal water-methanol ratio of the solvent and the most effective catalyst concentration. The developed system can help to determine important information about the optimal parameters of a reaction within a short time. With this novel tool, we make an important step on the field of combining droplet-based microfluidics with organic reaction screening.

Keywords: droplet, mass spectrometry, microfluidics, organic reaction, screening

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65 Liquid Chromatography Microfluidics for Detection and Quantification of Urine Albumin Using Linear Regression Method

Authors: Patricia B. Cruz, Catrina Jean G. Valenzuela, Analyn N. Yumang


Nearly a hundred per million of the Filipino population is diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). The early stage of CKD has no symptoms and can only be discovered once the patient undergoes urinalysis. Over the years, different methods were discovered and used for the quantification of the urinary albumin such as the immunochemical assays where most of these methods require large machinery that has a high cost in maintenance and resources, and a dipstick test which is yet to be proven and is still debated as a reliable method in detecting early stages of microalbuminuria. This research study involves the use of the liquid chromatography concept in microfluidic instruments with biosensor as a means of separation and detection respectively, and linear regression to quantify human urinary albumin. The researchers’ main objective was to create a miniature system that quantifies and detect patients’ urinary albumin while reducing the amount of volume used per five test samples. For this study, 30 urine samples of unknown albumin concentrations were tested using VITROS Analyzer and the microfluidic system for comparison. Based on the data shared by both methods, the actual vs. predicted regression were able to create a positive linear relationship with an R2 of 0.9995 and a linear equation of y = 1.09x + 0.07, indicating that the predicted values and actual values are approximately equal. Furthermore, the microfluidic instrument uses 75% less in total volume – sample and reagents combined, compared to the VITROS Analyzer per five test samples.

Keywords: Chronic Kidney Disease, Linear Regression, Microfluidics, Urinary Albumin

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64 Surface-Enhanced Raman Detection in Chip-Based Chromatography via a Droplet Interface

Authors: Renata Gerhardt, Detlev Belder


Raman spectroscopy has attracted much attention as a structurally descriptive and label-free detection method. It is particularly suited for chemical analysis given as it is non-destructive and molecules can be identified via the fingerprint region of the spectra. In this work possibilities are investigated how to integrate Raman spectroscopy as a detection method for chip-based chromatography, making use of a droplet interface. A demanding task in lab-on-a-chip applications is the specific and sensitive detection of low concentrated analytes in small volumes. Fluorescence detection is frequently utilized but restricted to fluorescent molecules. Furthermore, no structural information is provided. Another often applied technique is mass spectrometry which enables the identification of molecules based on their mass to charge ratio. Additionally, the obtained fragmentation pattern gives insight into the chemical structure. However, it is only applicable as an end-of-the-line detection because analytes are destroyed during measurements. In contrast to mass spectrometry, Raman spectroscopy can be applied on-chip and substances can be processed further downstream after detection. A major drawback of Raman spectroscopy is the inherent weakness of the Raman signal, which is due to the small cross-sections associated with the scattering process. Enhancement techniques, such as surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), are employed to overcome the poor sensitivity even allowing detection on a single molecule level. In SERS measurements, Raman signal intensity is improved by several orders of magnitude if the analyte is in close proximity to nanostructured metal surfaces or nanoparticles. The main gain of lab-on-a-chip technology is the building block-like ability to seamlessly integrate different functionalities, such as synthesis, separation, derivatization and detection on a single device. We intend to utilize this powerful toolbox to realize Raman detection in chip-based chromatography. By interfacing on-chip separations with a droplet generator, the separated analytes are encapsulated into numerous discrete containers. These droplets can then be injected with a silver nanoparticle solution and investigated via Raman spectroscopy. Droplet microfluidics is a sub-discipline of microfluidics which instead of a continuous flow operates with the segmented flow. Segmented flow is created by merging two immiscible phases (usually an aqueous phase and oil) thus forming small discrete volumes of one phase in the carrier phase. The study surveys different chip designs to realize coupling of chip-based chromatography with droplet microfluidics. With regards to maintaining a sufficient flow rate for chromatographic separation and ensuring stable eluent flow over the column different flow rates of eluent and oil phase are tested. Furthermore, the detection of analytes in droplets with surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy is examined. The compartmentalization of separated compounds preserves the analytical resolution since the continuous phase restricts dispersion between the droplets. The droplets are ideal vessels for the insertion of silver colloids thus making use of the surface enhancement effect and improving the sensitivity of the detection. The long-term goal of this work is the first realization of coupling chip based chromatography with droplets microfluidics to employ surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy as means of detection.

Keywords: chip-based separation, chip LC, droplets, Raman spectroscopy, SERS

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63 Towards a Biologically Relevant Tumor-on-a-Chip: Multiplex Microfluidic Platform to Study Breast Cancer Drug Response

Authors: Soroosh Torabi, Brad Berron, Ren Xu, Christine Trinkle


Microfluidics integrated with 3D cell culture is a powerful technology to mimic cellular environment, and can be used to study cell activities such as proliferation, migration and response to drugs. This technology has gained more attention in cancer studies over the past years, and many organ-on-a-chip systems have been developed to study cancer cell behaviors in an ex-vivo tumor microenvironment. However, there are still some barriers to adoption which include low throughput, complexity in 3D cell culture integration and limitations on non-optical analysis of cells. In this study, a user-friendly microfluidic multi-well plate was developed to mimic the in vivo tumor microenvironment. The microfluidic platform feeds multiple 3D cell culture sites at the same time which enhances the throughput of the system. The platform uses hydrophobic Cassie-Baxter surfaces created by microchannels to enable convenient loading of hydrogel/cell suspensions into the device, while providing barrier free placement of the hydrogel and cells adjacent to the fluidic path. The microchannels support convective flow and diffusion of nutrients to the cells and a removable lid is used to enable further chemical and physiological analysis on the cells. Different breast cancer cell lines were cultured in the device and then monitored to characterize nutrient delivery to the cells as well as cell invasion and proliferation. In addition, the drug response of breast cancer cell lines cultured in the device was compared to the response in xenograft models to the same drugs to analyze relevance of this platform for use in future drug-response studies.

Keywords: microfluidics, multi-well 3d cell culture, tumor microenvironment, tumor-on-a-chip

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62 3D Scaffolds Fabricated by Microfluidic Device for Rat Cardiomyocytes Observation

Authors: Chih-Wei Chao, Jiashing Yu


Microfluidic devices have recently emerged as promising tools for the fabrication of scaffolds for cell culture. To mimic the natural circumstances of organism for cells to grow, here we present three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds fabricated by microfluidics for cells cultivation. This work aims at investigating the behavior in terms of the viability and the proliferation capability of rat H9c2 cardiomyocytes in the gelatin 3D scaffolds by fluorescent images.

Keywords: microfluidic device, H9c2, tissue engineering, 3D scaffolds

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61 Shear Stress and Oxygen Concentration Manipulation in a Micropillars Microfluidic Bioreactor

Authors: Deybith Venegas-Rojas, Jens Budde, Dominik Nörz, Manfred Jücker, Hoc Khiem Trieu


Microfluidics is a promising approach for biomedicine cell culture experiments with microfluidic bioreactors (MBR), which can provide high precision in volume and time control over mass transport and microenvironments in small-scale studies. Nevertheless, shear stress and oxygen concentration are important factors that affect the microenvironment and then the cell culture. It is presented a novel MBR design in which differences in geometry, shear stress, and oxygen concentration were studied and optimized for cell culture. The aim is to mimic the in vivo condition with biocompatible materials and continuous perfusion of nutrients, a healthy shear stress, and oxygen concentration. The design consists of a capture system of PDMS micropillars which keep cells in place, so it is not necessary any hydrogel or complicated scaffolds for cells immobilization. Besides, the design allows continuous supply with nutrients or even any other chemical for cell experimentation. Finite element method simulations were used to study and optimize the effect of parameters such as flow rate, shear stress, oxygen concentration, micropillars shape, and dimensions. The micropillars device was fabricated with microsystem technology such as soft-lithography, deep reactive ion etching, self-assembled monolayer, replica molding, and oxygen plasma bonding. Eight different geometries were fabricated and tested, with different flow rates according to the simulations. During the experiments, it was observed the effect of micropillars size, shape, and configuration for stability and shear stress control when increasing flow rate. The device was tested with several successful HepG2 3D cell cultures. With this MBR, the aforementioned parameters can be controlled in order to keep a healthy microenvironment according to specific necessities of different cell types, with no need of hydrogels and can be used for a wide range of experiments with cells.

Keywords: cell culture, micro-bioreactor, microfluidics, micropillars, oxygen concentration, shear stress

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60 Magnetofluidics for Mass Transfer and Mixing Enhancement in a Micro Scale Device

Authors: Majid Hejazian, Nam-Trung Nguyen


Over the past few years, microfluidic devices have generated significant attention from industry and academia due to advantages such as small sample volume, low cost and high efficiency. Microfluidic devices have applications in chemical, biological and industry analysis and can facilitate assay of bio-materials and chemical reactions, separation, and sensing. Micromixers are one of the important microfluidic concepts. Micromixers can work as stand-alone devices or be integrated in a more complex microfluidic system such as a lab on a chip (LOC). Micromixers are categorized as passive and active types. Passive micromixers rely only on the arrangement of the phases to be mixed and contain no moving parts and require no energy. Active micromixers require external fields such as pressure, temperature, electric and acoustic fields. Rapid and efficient mixing is important for many applications such as biological, chemical and biochemical analysis. Achieving fast and homogenous mixing of multiple samples in the microfluidic devices has been studied and discussed in the literature recently. Improvement in mixing rely on effective mass transport in microscale, but are currently limited to molecular diffusion due to the predominant laminar flow in this size scale. Using magnetic field to elevate mass transport is an effective solution for mixing enhancement in microfluidics. The use of a non-uniform magnetic field to improve mass transfer performance in a microfluidic device is demonstrated in this work. The phenomenon of mixing ferrofluid and DI-water streams has been reported before, but mass transfer enhancement for other non-magnetic species through magnetic field have not been studied and evaluated extensively. In the present work, permanent magnets were used in a simple microfluidic device to create a non-uniform magnetic field. Two streams are introduced into the microchannel: one contains fluorescent dye mixed with diluted ferrofluid to induce enhanced mass transport of the dye, and the other one is a non-magnetic DI-water stream. Mass transport enhancement of fluorescent dye is evaluated using fluorescent measurement techniques. The concentration field is measured for different flow rates. Due to effect of magnetic field, a body force is exerted on the paramagnetic stream and expands the ferrofluid stream into non-magnetic DI-water flow. The experimental results demonstrate that without a magnetic field, both magnetic nanoparticles of the ferrofluid and the fluorescent dye solely rely on molecular diffusion to spread. The non-uniform magnetic field, created by the permanent magnets around the microchannel, and diluted ferrofluid can improve mass transport of non-magnetic solutes in a microfluidic device. The susceptibility mismatch between the fluids results in a magnetoconvective secondary flow towards the magnets and subsequently the mass transport of the non-magnetic fluorescent dye. A significant enhancement in mass transport of the fluorescent dye was observed. The platform presented here could be used as a microfluidics-based micromixer for chemical and biological applications.

Keywords: ferrofluid, mass transfer, micromixer, microfluidics, magnetic

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59 Cost Effective Microfabrication Technique for Lab on Chip (LOC) Devices Using Epoxy Polymers

Authors: Charmi Chande, Ravindra Phadke


Microfluidics devices are fabricated by using multiple fabrication methods. Photolithography is one of the common methods wherein SU8 is widely used for making master which in turn is used for making working chip by the process of soft lithography. The high-aspect ratio features of SU-8 makes it suitable to be used as micro moulds for injection moulding, hot embossing, and moulds to form polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) structures for bioMEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) applications. But due to high cost, difficulty in procuring and need for clean room, restricts the use of this polymer especially in developing countries and small research labs. ‘Bisphenol –A’ based polymers in mixture with curing agent are used in various industries like Paints and coatings, Adhesives, Electrical systems and electronics, Industrial tooling and composites. We present the novel use of ‘Bisphenol – A’ based polymer in fabricating micro channels for Lab On Chip(LOC) devices. The present paper describes the prototype for production of microfluidics chips using range of ‘Bisphenol-A’ based polymers viz. GY 250, ATUL B11, DER 331, DER 330 in mixture with cationic photo initiators. All the steps of chip production were carried out using an inexpensive approach that uses low cost chemicals and equipment. This even excludes the need of clean room. The produced chips using all above mentioned polymers were validated with respect to height and the chip giving least height was selected for further experimentation. The lowest height achieved was 7 micrometers by GY250. The cost of the master fabricated was $ 0.20 and working chip was $. 0.22. The best working chip was used for morphological identification and profiling of microorganisms from environmental samples like soil, marine water and salt water pan sites. The current chip can be adapted for various microbiological screening experiments like biochemical based microbial identification, studying uncultivable microorganisms at single cell/community level.

Keywords: bisphenol–A based epoxy, cationic photoinitiators, microfabrication, photolithography

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58 Micro-Droplet Formation in a Microchannel under the Effect of an Electric Field: Experiment

Authors: Sercan Altundemir, Pinar Eribol, A. Kerem Uguz


Microfluidics systems allow many-large scale laboratory applications to be miniaturized on a single device in order to reduce cost and advance fluid control. Moreover, such systems enable to generate and control droplets which have a significant role on improved analysis for many chemical and biological applications. For example, they can be employed as the model for cells in microfluidic systems. In this work, the interfacial instability of two immiscible Newtonian liquids flowing in a microchannel is investigated. When two immiscible liquids are in laminar regime, a flat interface is formed between them. If a direct current electric field is applied, the interface may deform, i.e. may become unstable and it may be ruptured and form micro-droplets. First, the effect of thickness ratio, total flow rate, viscosity ratio of the silicone oil and ethylene glycol liquid couple on the critical voltage at which the interface starts to destabilize is investigated. Then the droplet sizes are measured under the effect of these parameters at various voltages. Moreover, the effect of total flow rate on the time elapsed for the interface to be ruptured to form droplets by hitting the wall of the channel is analyzed. It is observed that an increase in the viscosity or the thickness ratio of the silicone oil to the ethylene glycol has a stabilizing effect, i.e. a higher voltage is needed while the total flow rate has no effect on it. However, it is observed that an increase in the total flow rate results in shortening of the elapsed time for the interface to hit the wall. Moreover, the droplet size decreases down to 0.1 μL with an increase in the applied voltage, the viscosity ratio or the total flow rate or a decrease in the thickness ratio. In addition to these observations, two empirical models for determining the critical electric number, i.e., the dimensionless voltage and the droplet size and another model which is a combination of both models, for determining the droplet size at the critical voltage are established.

Keywords: droplet formation, electrohydrodynamics, microfluidics, two-phase flow

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57 A Facile One Step Modification of Poly(dimethylsiloxane) via Smart Polymers for Biomicrofluidics

Authors: A. Aslihan Gokaltun, Martin L. Yarmush, Ayse Asatekin, O. Berk Usta


Poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) is one of the most widely used materials in the fabrication of microfluidic devices. It is easily patterned and can replicate features down to nanometers. Its flexibility, gas permeability that allows oxygenation, and low cost also drive its wide adoption. However, a major drawback of PDMS is its hydrophobicity and fast hydrophobic recovery after surface hydrophilization. This results in significant non-specific adsorption of proteins as well as small hydrophobic molecules such as therapeutic drugs limiting the utility of PDMS in biomedical microfluidic circuitry. While silicon, glass, and thermoplastics have been used, they come with problems of their own such as rigidity, high cost, and special tooling needs, which limit their use to a smaller user base. Many strategies to alleviate these common problems with PDMS are lack of general practical applicability, or have limited shelf lives in terms of the modifications they achieve. This restricts large scale implementation and adoption by industrial and research communities. Accordingly, we aim to tailor biocompatible PDMS surfaces by developing a simple and one step bulk modification approach with novel smart materials to reduce non-specific molecular adsorption and to stabilize long-term cell analysis with PDMS substrates. Smart polymers that blended with PDMS during device manufacture, spontaneously segregate to surfaces when in contact with aqueous solutions and create a < 1 nm layer that reduces non-specific adsorption of organic and biomolecules. Our methods are fully compatible with existing PDMS device manufacture protocols without any additional processing steps. We have demonstrated that our modified PDMS microfluidic system is effective at blocking the adsorption of proteins while retaining the viability of primary rat hepatocytes and preserving the biocompatibility, oxygen permeability, and transparency of the material. We expect this work will enable the development of fouling-resistant biomedical materials from microfluidics to hospital surfaces and tubing.

Keywords: cell culture, microfluidics, non-specific protein adsorption, PDMS, smart polymers

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56 Simulation of Focusing of Diamagnetic Particles in Ferrofluid Microflows with a Single Set of Overhead Permanent Magnets

Authors: Shuang Chen, Zongqian Shi, Jiajia Sun, Mingjia Li


Microfluidics is a technology that small amounts of fluids are manipulated using channels with dimensions of tens to hundreds of micrometers. At present, this significant technology is required for several applications in some fields, including disease diagnostics, genetic engineering, and environmental monitoring, etc. Among these fields, manipulation of microparticles and cells in microfluidic device, especially separation, have aroused general concern. In magnetic field, the separation methods include positive and negative magnetophoresis. By comparison, negative magnetophoresis is a label-free technology. It has many advantages, e.g., easy operation, low cost, and simple design. Before the separation of particles or cells, focusing them into a single tight stream is usually a necessary upstream operation. In this work, the focusing of diamagnetic particles in ferrofluid microflows with a single set of overhead permanent magnets is investigated numerically. The geometric model of the simulation is based on the configuration of previous experiments. The straight microchannel is 24mm long and has a rectangular cross-section of 100μm in width and 50μm in depth. The spherical diamagnetic particles of 10μm in diameter are suspended into ferrofluid. The initial concentration of the ferrofluid c₀ is 0.096%, and the flow rate of the ferrofluid is 1.8mL/h. The magnetic field is induced by five identical rectangular neodymium−iron− boron permanent magnets (1/8 × 1/8 × 1/8 in.), and it is calculated by equivalent charge source (ECS) method. The flow of the ferrofluid is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations. The trajectories of particles are solved by the discrete phase model (DPM) in the ANSYS FLUENT program. The positions of diamagnetic particles are recorded by transient simulation. Compared with the results of the mentioned experiments, our simulation shows consistent results that diamagnetic particles are gradually focused in ferrofluid under magnetic field. Besides, the diamagnetic particle focusing is studied by varying the flow rate of the ferrofluid. It is in agreement with the experiment that the diamagnetic particle focusing is better with the increase of the flow rate. Furthermore, it is investigated that the diamagnetic particle focusing is affected by other factors, e.g., the width and depth of the microchannel, the concentration of the ferrofluid and the diameter of diamagnetic particles.

Keywords: diamagnetic particle, focusing, microfluidics, permanent magnet

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55 Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW)-Induced Mixing Enhances Biomolecules Kinetics in a Novel Phase-Interrogation Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) Microfluidic Biosensor

Authors: M. Agostini, A. Sonato, G. Greco, M. Travagliati, G. Ruffato, E. Gazzola, D. Liuni, F. Romanato, M. Cecchini


Since their first demonstration in the early 1980s, surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensors have been widely recognized as useful tools for detecting chemical and biological species, and the interest of the scientific community toward this technology has known a rapid growth in the past two decades owing to their high sensitivity, label-free operation and possibility of real-time detection. Recent works have suggested that a turning point in SPR sensor research would be the combination of SPR strategies with other technologies in order to reduce human handling of samples, improve integration and plasmonic sensitivity. In this light, microfluidics has been attracting growing interest. By properly designing microfluidic biochips it is possible to miniaturize the analyte-sensitive areas with an overall reduction of the chip dimension, reduce the liquid reagents and sample volume, improve automation, and increase the number of experiments in a single biochip by multiplexing approaches. However, as the fluidic channel dimensions approach the micron scale, laminar flows become dominant owing to the low Reynolds numbers that typically characterize microfluidics. In these environments mixing times are usually dominated by diffusion, which can be prohibitively long and lead to long-lasting biochemistry experiments. An elegant method to overcome these issues is to actively perturb the liquid laminar flow by exploiting surface acoustic waves (SAWs). With this work, we demonstrate a new approach for SPR biosensing based on the combination of microfluidics, SAW-induced mixing and the real-time phase-interrogation grating-coupling SPR technology. On a single lithium niobate (LN) substrate the nanostructured SPR sensing areas, interdigital transducer (IDT) for SAW generation and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic chambers were fabricated. SAWs, impinging on the microfluidic chamber, generate acoustic streaming inside the fluid, leading to chaotic advection and thus improved fluid mixing, whilst analytes binding detection is made via SPR method based on SPP excitation via gold metallic grating upon azimuthal orientation and phase interrogation. Our device has been fully characterized in order to separate for the very first time the unwanted SAW heating effect with respect to the fluid stirring inside the microchamber that affect the molecules binding dynamics. Avidin/biotin assay and thiol-polyethylene glycol (bPEG-SH) were exploited as model biological interaction and non-fouling layer respectively. Biosensing kinetics time reduction with SAW-enhanced mixing resulted in a ≈ 82% improvement for bPEG-SH adsorption onto gold and ≈ 24% for avidin/biotin binding—≈ 50% and 18% respectively compared to the heating only condition. These results demonstrate that our biochip can significantly reduce the duration of bioreactions that usually require long times (e.g., PEG-based sensing layer, low concentration analyte detection). The sensing architecture here proposed represents a new promising technology satisfying the major biosensing requirements: scalability and high throughput capabilities. The detection system size and biochip dimension could be further reduced and integrated; in addition, the possibility of reducing biological experiment duration via SAW-driven active mixing and developing multiplexing platforms for parallel real-time sensing could be easily combined. In general, the technology reported in this study can be straightforwardly adapted to a great number of biological system and sensing geometry.

Keywords: biosensor, microfluidics, surface acoustic wave, surface plasmon resonance

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54 Strategic Innovation of Nanotechnology: Novel Applications of Biomimetics and Microfluidics in Food Safety

Authors: Boce Zhang


Strategic innovation of nanotechnology to promote food safety has drawn tremendous attentions among research groups, which includes the need for research support during the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the United States. There are urgent demands and knowledge gaps to the understanding of a) food-water-bacteria interface as for how pathogens persist and transmit during food processing and storage; b) minimum processing requirement needed to prevent pathogen cross-contamination in the food system. These knowledge gaps are of critical importance to the food industry. However, the lack of knowledge is largely hindered by the limitations of research tools. Our groups recently endeavored two novel engineering systems with biomimetics and microfluidics as a holistic approach to hazard analysis and risk mitigation, which provided unprecedented research opportunities to study pathogen behavior, in particular, contamination, and cross-contamination, at the critical food-water-pathogen interface. First, biomimetically-patterned surfaces (BPS) were developed to replicate the identical surface topography and chemistry of a natural food surface. We demonstrated that BPS is a superior research tool that empowers the study of a) how pathogens persist through sanitizer treatment, b) how to apply fluidic shear-force and surface tension to increase the vulnerability of the bacterial cells, by detaching them from a protected area, etc. Secondly, microfluidic devices were designed and fabricated to study the bactericidal kinetics in the sub-second time frame (0.1~1 second). The sub-second kinetics is critical because the cross-contamination process, which includes detachment, migration, and reattachment, can occur in a very short timeframe. With this microfluidic device, we were able to simulate and study these sub-second cross-contamination scenarios, and to further investigate the minimum sanitizer concentration needed to sufficiently prevent pathogen cross-contamination during the food processing. We anticipate that the findings from these studies will provide critical insight on bacterial behavior at the food-water-cell interface, and the kinetics of bacterial inactivation from a broad range of sanitizers and processing conditions, thus facilitating the development and implementation of science-based food safety regulations and practices to mitigate the food safety risks.

Keywords: biomimetic materials, microbial food safety, microfluidic device, nanotechnology

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53 Multi-Size Continuous Particle Separation on a Dielectrophoresis-Based Microfluidics Chip

Authors: Arash Dalili, Hamed Tahmouressi, Mina Hoorfar


Advances in lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices have led to significant advances in the manipulation, separation, and isolation of particles and cells. Among the different active and passive particle manipulation methods, dielectrophoresis (DEP) has been proven to be a versatile mechanism as it is label-free, cost-effective, simple to operate, and has high manipulation efficiency. DEP has been applied for a wide range of biological and environmental applications. A popular form of DEP devices is the continuous manipulation of particles by using co-planar slanted electrodes, which utilizes a sheath flow to focus the particles into one side of the microchannel. When particles enter the DEP manipulation zone, the negative DEP (nDEP) force generated by the slanted electrodes deflects the particles laterally towards the opposite side of the microchannel. The lateral displacement of the particles is dependent on multiple parameters including the geometry of the electrodes, the width, length and height of the microchannel, the size of the particles and the throughput. In this study, COMSOL Multiphysics® modeling along with experimental studies are used to investigate the effect of the aforementioned parameters. The electric field between the electrodes and the induced DEP force on the particles are modelled by COMSOL Multiphysics®. The simulation model is used to show the effect of the DEP force on the particles, and how the geometry of the electrodes (width of the electrodes and the gap between them) plays a role in the manipulation of polystyrene microparticles. The simulation results show that increasing the electrode width to a certain limit, which depends on the height of the channel, increases the induced DEP force. Also, decreasing the gap between the electrodes leads to a stronger DEP force. Based on these results, criteria for the fabrication of the electrodes were found, and soft lithography was used to fabricate interdigitated slanted electrodes and microchannels. Experimental studies were run to find the effect of the flow rate, geometrical parameters of the microchannel such as length, width, and height as well as the electrodes’ angle on the displacement of 5 um, 10 um and 15 um polystyrene particles. An empirical equation is developed to predict the displacement of the particles under different conditions. It is shown that the displacement of the particles is more for longer and lower height channels, lower flow rates, and bigger particles. On the other hand, the effect of the angle of the electrodes on the displacement of the particles was negligible. Based on the results, we have developed an optimum design (in terms of efficiency and throughput) for three size separation of particles.

Keywords: COMSOL Multiphysics, Dielectrophoresis, Microfluidics, Particle separation

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52 Simulation and Characterization of Stretching and Folding in Microchannel Electrokinetic Flows

Authors: Justo Rodriguez, Daming Chen, Amador M. Guzman


The detection, treatment, and control of rapidly propagating, deadly viruses such as COVID-19, require the development of inexpensive, fast, and accurate devices to address the urgent needs of the population. Microfluidics-based sensors are amongst the different methods and techniques for detection that are easy to use. A micro analyzer is defined as a microfluidics-based sensor, composed of a network of microchannels with varying functions. Given their size, portability, and accuracy, they are proving to be more effective and convenient than other solutions. A micro analyzer based on the concept of “Lab on a Chip” presents advantages concerning other non-micro devices due to its smaller size, and it is having a better ratio between useful area and volume. The integration of multiple processes in a single microdevice reduces both the number of necessary samples and the analysis time, leading the next generation of analyzers for the health-sciences. In some applications, the flow of solution within the microchannels is originated by a pressure gradient, which can produce adverse effects on biological samples. A more efficient and less dangerous way of controlling the flow in a microchannel-based analyzer is applying an electric field to induce the fluid motion and either enhance or suppress the mixing process. Electrokinetic flows are characterized by no less than two non-dimensional parameters: the electric Rayleigh number and its geometrical aspect ratio. In this research, stable and unstable flows have been studied numerically (and when possible, will be experimental) in a T-shaped microchannel. Additionally, unstable electrokinetic flows for Rayleigh numbers higher than critical have been characterized. The flow mixing enhancement was quantified in relation to the stretching and folding that fluid particles undergo when they are subjected to supercritical electrokinetic flows. Computational simulations were carried out using a finite element-based program while working with the flow mixing concepts developed by Gollub and collaborators. Hundreds of seeded massless particles were tracked along the microchannel from the entrance to exit for both stable and unstable flows. After post-processing, their trajectories, the folding and stretching values for the different flows were found. Numerical results show that for supercritical electrokinetic flows, the enhancement effects of the folding and stretching processes become more apparent. Consequently, there is an improvement in the mixing process, ultimately leading to a more homogenous mixture.

Keywords: microchannel, stretching and folding, electro kinetic flow mixing, micro-analyzer

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51 Integration of Magnetoresistance Sensor in Microfluidic Chip for Magnetic Particles Detection

Authors: Chao-Ming Su, Pei-Sheng Wu, Yu-Chi Kuo, Yin-Chou Huang, Tan-Yueh Chen, Jefunnie Matahum, Tzong-Rong Ger


Application of magnetic particles (MPs) has been applied in biomedical field for many years. There are lots of advantages through this mediator including high biocompatibility and multi-diversified bio-applications. However, current techniques for evaluating the quantity of the magnetic-labeled sample assays are rare. In this paper, a Wheatstone bridge giant magnetoresistance (GMR) sensor integrated with a homemade detecting system was fabricated and used to quantify the concentration of MPs. The homemade detecting system has shown high detecting sensitivity of 10 μg/μl of MPs with optimized parameter vertical magnetic field 100 G, horizontal magnetic field 2 G and flow rate 0.4 ml/min.

Keywords: magnetic particles, magnetoresistive sensors, microfluidics, biosensor

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50 Study of the Combinatorial Impact of Substrate Properties on Mesenchymal Stem Cell Migration Using Microfluidics

Authors: Nishanth Venugopal Menon, Chuah Yon Jin, Samantha Phey, Wu Yingnan, Zhang Ying, Vincent Chan, Kang Yuejun


Cell Migration is a vital phenomenon that the cells undergo in various physiological processes like wound healing, disease progression, embryogenesis, etc. Cell migration depends primarily on the chemical and physical cues available in the cellular environment. The chemical cue involves the chemokines secreted and gradients generated in the environment while physical cues indicate the impact of matrix properties like nanotopography and stiffness on the cells. Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have been shown to have a role wound healing in vivo and its migration to the site of the wound has been shown to have a therapeutic effect. In the field of stem cell based tissue regeneration of bones and cartilage, one approach has been to introduce scaffold laden with MSCs into the site of injury to enable tissue regeneration. In this work, we have studied the combinatorial impact of the substrate physical properties on MSC migration. A microfluidic in vitro model was created to perform the migration studies. The microfluidic model used is a three compartment device consisting of two cell seeding compartments and one migration compartment. Four different PDMS substrates with varying substrate roughness, stiffness and hydrophobicity were created. Its surface roughness and stiffness was measured using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) while its hydrphobicity was measured from the water contact angle using an optical tensiometer. These PDMS substrates are sealed to the microfluidic chip following which the MSCs are seeded and the cell migration is studied over the period of a week. Cell migration was quantified using fluorescence imaging of the cytoskeleton (F-actin) to find out the area covered by the cells inside the migration compartment. The impact of adhesion proteins on cell migration was also quantified using a real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT PCR). These results suggested that the optimal substrate for cell migration would be one with an intermediate level of roughness, stiffness and hydrophobicity. A higher or lower value of these properties affected cell migration negatively. These observations have helped us in understanding that different substrate properties need to be considered in tandem, especially while designing scaffolds for tissue regeneration as cell migration is normally impacted by the combinatorial impact of the matrix. These observations may lead us to scaffold optimization in future tissue regeneration applications.

Keywords: cell migration, microfluidics, in vitro model, stem cell migration, scaffold, substrate properties

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49 Geometrical Based Unequal Droplet Splitting Using Microfluidic Y-Junction

Authors: Bahram Talebjedi, Amirmohammad Sattari, Ahmed Zoher Sihorwala, Mina Hoorfar


Among different droplet manipulations, controlled droplet-splitting is of great significance due to its ability to increase throughput and operational capability. Furthermore, unequal droplet-splitting can provide greater flexibility and a wider range of dilution factors. In this study, we developed two-dimensional, time-dependent complex fluid dynamics simulations to model droplet formation in a flow focusing device, followed by splitting in a Y-shaped junction with sub-channels of unequal widths. From the results obtained from the numerical study, we correlated the diameters of the droplets in the sub-channels to the Weber number, thereby demarcating the droplet splitting and non-splitting regimes.

Keywords: microfluidics, unequal droplet splitting, two phase flow, flow focusing device

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48 Microfluidic Continuous Approaches to Produce Magnetic Nanoparticles with Homogeneous Size Distribution

Authors: Ane Larrea, Victor Sebastian, Manuel Arruebo, Jesus Santamaria


We present a gas-liquid microfluidic system as a reactor to obtain magnetite nanoparticles with an excellent degree of control regarding their crystalline phase, shape and size. Several types of microflow approaches were selected to prevent nanomaterial aggregation and to promote homogenous size distribution. The selected reactor consists of a mixer stage aided by ultrasound waves and a reaction stage using a N2-liquid segmented flow to prevent magnetite oxidation to non-magnetic phases. A milli-fluidic reactor was developed to increase the production rate where a magnetite throughput close to 450 mg/h in a continuous fashion was obtained.

Keywords: continuous production, magnetic nanoparticles, microfluidics, nanomaterials

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47 Computational Fluid Dynamic Investigation into the Relationship between Pressure and Velocity Distributions within a Microfluidic Feedback Oscillator

Authors: Zara L. Sheady


Fluidic oscillators are being utilised in an increasing number of applications in a wide variety of areas; these include on-board vehicle cleaning systems, flow separation control on aircraft and in fluidic circuitry. With this increased use, there is a further understanding required for the mechanics of the fluidics of the fluidic oscillator and why they work in the manner that they do. ANSYS CFX has been utilized to visualise the pressure and velocity within a microfluidic feedback oscillator. The images demonstrate how the pressure vortices build within the oscillator at the points where the velocity is diverted from linear motion through the oscillator. With an enhanced understanding of the pressure and velocity distributions within a fluidic oscillator, it will enable users of microfluidics to more greatly tailor fluidic nozzles to their specification.

Keywords: ANSYS CFX, control, fluidic oscillators, mechanics, pressure, relationship, velocity

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46 Inertial Particle Focusing Dynamics in Trapezoid Straight Microchannels: Application to Continuous Particle Filtration

Authors: Reza Moloudi, Steve Oh, Charles Chun Yang, Majid Ebrahimi Warkiani, May Win Naing


Inertial microfluidics has emerged recently as a promising tool for high-throughput manipulation of particles and cells for a wide range of flow cytometric tasks including cell separation/filtration, cell counting, and mechanical phenotyping. Inertial focusing is profoundly reliant on the cross-sectional shape of the channel and its impacts not only on the shear field but also the wall-effect lift force near the wall region. Despite comprehensive experiments and numerical analysis of the lift forces for rectangular and non-rectangular microchannels (half-circular and triangular cross-section), which all possess planes of symmetry, less effort has been made on the 'flow field structure' of trapezoidal straight microchannels and its effects on inertial focusing. On the other hand, a rectilinear channel with trapezoidal cross-sections breaks down all planes of symmetry. In this study, particle focusing dynamics inside trapezoid straight microchannels was first studied systematically for a broad range of channel Re number (20 < Re < 800). The altered axial velocity profile and consequently new shear force arrangement led to a cross-laterally movement of equilibration toward the longer side wall when the rectangular straight channel was changed to a trapezoid; however, the main lateral focusing started to move backward toward the middle and the shorter side wall, depending on particle clogging ratio (K=a/Hmin, a is particle size), channel aspect ratio (AR=W/Hmin, W is channel width, and Hmin is smaller channel height), and slope of slanted wall, as the channel Reynolds number further increased (Re > 50). Increasing the channel aspect ratio (AR) from 2 to 4 and the slope of slanted wall up to Tan(α)≈0.4 (Tan(α)=(Hlonger-sidewall-Hshorter-sidewall)/W) enhanced the off-center lateral focusing position from the middle of channel cross-section, up to ~20 percent of the channel width. It was found that the focusing point was spoiled near the slanted wall due to the dissymmetry; it mainly focused near the bottom wall or fluctuated between the channel center and the bottom wall, depending on the slanted wall and Re (Re < 100, channel aspect ratio 4:1). Eventually, as a proof of principle, a trapezoidal straight microchannel along with a bifurcation was designed and utilized for continuous filtration of a broader range of particle clogging ratio (0.3 < K < 1) exiting through the longer wall outlet with ~99% efficiency (Re < 100) in comparison to the rectangular straight microchannels (W > H, 0.3 ≤ K < 0.5).

Keywords: cell/particle sorting, filtration, inertial microfluidics, straight microchannel, trapezoid

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45 Human Brain Organoids-on-a-Chip Systems to Model Neuroinflammation

Authors: Feng Guo


Human brain organoids, 3D brain tissue cultures derived from human pluripotent stem cells, hold promising potential in modeling neuroinflammation for a variety of neurological diseases. However, challenges remain in generating standardized human brain organoids that can recapitulate key physiological features of a human brain. Here, this study presents a series of organoids-on-a-chip systems to generate better human brain organoids and model neuroinflammation. By employing 3D printing and microfluidic 3D cell culture technologies, the study’s systems enable the reliable, scalable, and reproducible generation of human brain organoids. Compared with conventional protocols, this study’s method increased neural progenitor proliferation and reduced heterogeneity of human brain organoids. As a proof-of-concept application, the study applied this method to model substance use disorders.

Keywords: human brain organoids, microfluidics, organ-on-a-chip, neuroinflammation

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