Presentation Title

Microfluidic valve optimization for agricultural applications

Faculty Mentor

William H. Grover

Start Date

23-11-2019 11:15 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 11:30 AM

Location

Markstein 105

Session

oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

engineering_computer_science

Abstract

Microfluidic chips are devices that can precisely manipulate fluids on microliter or nanoliter scales. The small nature of these devices has led to a broad range of applications, enabling researchers to create many lab-on-a-chip technologies. Over the years, valves and other fluidic components have been incorporated onto the devices to better control fluids. Devices with monolithic membrane valves have three layers: a pneumatic control layer, a fluidic layer where the fluids are manipulated, and a PDMS (silicone rubber) membrane that separates the two. When a vacuum is applied on the control side, the flexible PDMS is stretched towards the vacuum, creating an opening between channels on the fluidic layer. This simple approach has enabled the foundation for creating fluidic circuits analogous to computing and has led to the development of many diagnostic tools. Although most valve-based microfluidic technologies are adequate for human health applications, current valve designs fail when handling solutions that contain particles or have high viscosities. This is particularly the case when developing devices for agricultural applications. For example, many agricultural studies involving larval rearing require manipulating paste-like food mixtures. Current microfluidic valve designs do not have the capability to manipulate these samples as the valves and channels are rendered non-operational within seconds of pumping. In this work, we show how optimizing the geometry of microfluidic valves can allow for manipulation of complex samples like agricultural food mixtures. We compare our valve design to benchmark valves that are currently used and show the advantages of developing a valve that supports more complex solutions. An optimized valve design will enable new applications for microfluidic valve-based technologies in fields beyond human health.

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Nov 23rd, 11:15 AM Nov 23rd, 11:30 AM

Microfluidic valve optimization for agricultural applications

Markstein 105

Microfluidic chips are devices that can precisely manipulate fluids on microliter or nanoliter scales. The small nature of these devices has led to a broad range of applications, enabling researchers to create many lab-on-a-chip technologies. Over the years, valves and other fluidic components have been incorporated onto the devices to better control fluids. Devices with monolithic membrane valves have three layers: a pneumatic control layer, a fluidic layer where the fluids are manipulated, and a PDMS (silicone rubber) membrane that separates the two. When a vacuum is applied on the control side, the flexible PDMS is stretched towards the vacuum, creating an opening between channels on the fluidic layer. This simple approach has enabled the foundation for creating fluidic circuits analogous to computing and has led to the development of many diagnostic tools. Although most valve-based microfluidic technologies are adequate for human health applications, current valve designs fail when handling solutions that contain particles or have high viscosities. This is particularly the case when developing devices for agricultural applications. For example, many agricultural studies involving larval rearing require manipulating paste-like food mixtures. Current microfluidic valve designs do not have the capability to manipulate these samples as the valves and channels are rendered non-operational within seconds of pumping. In this work, we show how optimizing the geometry of microfluidic valves can allow for manipulation of complex samples like agricultural food mixtures. We compare our valve design to benchmark valves that are currently used and show the advantages of developing a valve that supports more complex solutions. An optimized valve design will enable new applications for microfluidic valve-based technologies in fields beyond human health.