Sound waves transport droplets for rewritable lab on chip devices
Author Name: Desrina R
Category Name: Science and Technology
Our new system achieves rewritable routing, sorting and gating of droplets with minimal external control, which are essential functions for the digital logic control of droplets, said Researcher. And we achieve it with less energy and a simpler setup that can control more droplets simultaneously than previous systems."
Automated fluid handling has driven the development of many scientific fields such as clinical diagnostics and large-scale compound screening. While ubiquitous in the modern biomedical research and pharmaceutical industries, these systems are bulky, expensive and do not handle small volumes of liquids well.
Lab-on-a-chip systems have been able to fill this space to some extent, but most are hindered by one major drawback surface absorption. Because these devices rely on solid surfaces, the samples being transported inevitably leave traces of themselves behind that can lead to contamination.
The new lab-on-a-chip platform uses a thin layer of inert, immiscible oil to stop droplets from leaving behind any trace of themselves. Just below the oil, a grid of piezoelectric transducers vibrate when electricity is passed through them. Just like the surface of a subwoofer, these vibrations create sound waves in the thin layer of oil above them.
These sound waves form complex patterns when they bounce off the top and bottom of the chip as well as when they run into one another. By meticulously planning the design of the transducers and controlling the frequency and strength of the vibrations causing the waves, the researchers are able to create vortices that, when combined, form tunnels that can push and pull droplets in any direction along the surface of the device.
"The new system uses dual-mode transducers, which can transport droplets along x or y axis based on two different streaming patterns."This is a big step up from our previous system, which simply created a series of dimples in the oil to pass droplets along on a single axis.
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American journal of computer science and information technology