Laser-induced thermal bubbles for microfluidic applications.

Department of Applied Physics and Materials Research Center, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.
Lab on a Chip (Impact Factor: 5.75). 02/2011; 11(7):1389-95. DOI: 10.1039/c0lc00520g
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We present a unique bubble generation technique in microfluidic chips using continuous-wave laser-induced heat and demonstrate its application by creating micro-valves and micro-pumps. In this work, efficient generation of thermal bubbles of controllable sizes has been achieved using different geometries of chromium pads immersed in various types of fluid. Effective blocking of microfluidic channels (cross-section 500 × 40 μm(2)) and direct pumping of fluid at a flow rate of 7.2-28.8 μl h(-1) with selectable direction have also been demonstrated. A particular advantage of this technique is that it allows the generation of bubbles at almost any location in the microchannel and thus enables microfluidic control at any point of interest. It can be readily integrated into lab-on-a-chip systems to improve functionality.

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