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Instrument Free Control of Microfluidics using Sliding Manifolds

By October 5, 2016Events, News

MicroTAS, October 9- 13th, Dublin, IE

Visit our poster #424 titled: “JACQUARD-STYLE MANIFOLDS FOR INSTRUMENT-FREE
PNEUMATIC ACTUATION OF MICROFLUIDIC DEVICES”

Presented by Stefano Begolo, PhD., Director of Engineering, ALine, Inc.

We demonstrated instrument-free pneumatic actuation using sliding manifolds. These manifolds are inspired from the Jacquard-style mechanism used in the textile industry for weaving patterns, such as brocades into fabric, and include two main components: (i) a control plate with pilot lines used to supply pressure to the device, and (ii) a program plate with an array of features used to program the sequence of pressure states to be delivered to the device. The two plates are assembled using a lubricant and their relative position is used to control the sequence of operations. The overlap between features in the top and bottom plate determines the state delivered to the device. Examples of these manifolds and their use to control on-board valves is shown in figure 1. This system can be operated by moving the plates manually or using a geared system (controlled manually or with a stepper motor), configured to operate linearly or through rotation. The experiments described in this paper were performed using controlled vacuum and pressure sources, but the same approach was successfully used with a single aquarium pump or by generating pressure and vacuum with disposable syringes, making the system able to be operated, manually.

To demonstrate the capabilities of these manifolds we used ALine’s M2D2, a microfluidic platform developed for metering, mixing, de-bubbling and dispensing of liquids [3]. This device requires 8 pilot lines, with a total of five different input states (P=7psi, P=3psi, vacuum, atmosphere, and block state) and eight different positions to perform all the operations. M2D2 was previously controlled using a programmable instrument (ADEPT, ALine Inc.). Results in figures 3-4 show that the sliding manifold can be successfully used to perform the whole sequence of operations of M2D2, including metering and mixing (error <4%) and bubble free dispensing to the detection chamber.
This approach will simplify the equipment needed to operate microfluidic devices, allowing their use outside the laboratory setting.

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