Dead-end filling of SlipChip evaluated theoretically and experimentally as a function of the surface chemistry and the gap size between the plates for lubricated and dry SlipChips.

Department of Chemistry and Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, The University of Chicago, 929 East 57th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.
Langmuir (Impact Factor: 4.38). 07/2010; 26(14):12465-71. DOI: 10.1021/la101460z
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In this paper, we describe a method to load a microfluidic device, the SlipChip, via dead-end filling. In dead-end filling, the lubricating fluid that fills the SlipChip after assembly is dissipated through the gap between the two plates of the SlipChip instead of flowing through an outlet at the end of the fluidic path. We describe a theoretical model and associated predictions of dead-end filling that takes into consideration the interfacial properties and the gap size between plates of SlipChips. In this method, filling is controlled by the balance of pressures: for filling to occur without leaking, the inlet pressure must be greater than the capillary pressure but less than the maximum sealing pressure. We evaluated our prediction with experiments, and our empirical results agreed well with theory. Internal reservoirs were designed to prevent evaporation during loading of multiple solutions. Solutions were first loaded one at a time into inlet reservoirs; by applying a single pressure source to the device, we were able to fill multiple fluidic paths simultaneously. We used this method to fill both lubricated and dry SlipChips. Dry-loaded SlipChips were fabricated from fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) by using hot embossing techniques, and were successfully filled and slipped to perform a simple chemical reaction. The SlipChip design was also modified to enable ease of filling by using multiple access holes to the inlet reservoir.

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