Microfluidics 2.0 Toolkit
Methods for developing capillary-driven microfluidics
Developing an integrated sample analysis system requires a wide variety of technologies, fabrication techniques, and design methods. Our research addresses many of the needs of device developers and in the process is creating tools that can be broadly applied to capillary-driven test systems. As we publish our research, we'll also put descriptions of the toolkit here, on the Microfluidics 2.0 website.
How do you measure, model, and control the movement of fluid through porous materials? We've found that caged fluorophores and ph-sensitive dyes can be terrific markers for visualizing flow, and one of our first toolkit articles explains how they're used for this purpose. Fluid flow can be modeled analytically with Washburn's equation, Darcy's law, and electrical-circuit analogues, but you can also use numeric methods like finite element analysis to describe fluid motion in more complex geometries. Controlling fluid motion is possible by many means, including material geometry, volume-limited fluid sources, modified surface chemistry, and others. In fact, one of our approaches is literally sugarcoated – a sugar-based coating on a porous material can delay the passage of fluid while being dissolved, thus acting as a temporary barrier to flow.
Check out the articles below for more details, and keep an eye on this site for updates to the toolkit.