Uniform flow control for a multipassage microfluidic sensor

Stephen A. Solovitz, Jiheng Zhao, Wei Xue, Jie Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Microfluidic sensors have been very effective for rapid, portable bioanalysis, such as in determining the pH of a sample. By simultaneously detecting multiple chemicals, the overall measurement performance can be greatly improved. One such method involves a series of parallel microchannels, each of which measures one individual agent. For unbiased readings, the flow rate in each channel should be approximately the same. In addition, the system needs a compact volume which reduces both the wasted channel space and the overall device cost. To achieve these conditions, a manifold was designed using a tapered power law, based on a concept derived for electronics cooling systems. This manifold features a single feed passage of varying diameter, eliminating the excess volume from multiple branch steps. The design was simulated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which demonstrated uniform flow performance within 2.5% standard deviation. The design was further examined with microparticle image velocimetry (PIV), and the experimental flow rates were also uniform with approximately 10% standard deviation. Hence, the tapered power law can provide a uniform flow distribution in a compact package, as is needed in both this microfluidic sensor and in electronics cooling applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021101
JournalJournal of Fluids Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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