Versatile Microfluidic Mixing Platform for High- and Low-Viscosity Liquids via Acoustic and Chemical Microbubbles.

Research paper by Yanfang Y Guan, Baichuan B Sun

Indexed on: 10 Sep '21Published on: 11 Dec '19Published in: Micromachines


Microfluidic mixers have been extensively studied due to their wide application in various fields, including clinical diagnosis and chemical research. In this paper, we demonstrate a mixing platform that can be used for low- and high-viscosity liquid mixing by integrating passive (utilizing the special circulating crossflow characteristics of a zigzag microstructure and cavitation surfaces at the zigzag corners) and active (adding an acoustic field to produce oscillating microbubbles) mixing methods. By exploring the relationship between the active and passive mixing methods, it was found that the microbubbles were more likely generated at the corners of the zigzag microchannel and achieved the best mixing efficiency with the acoustically generated microbubbles (compared with the straight channel). In addition, a higher mixing effect was achieved when the microchannel corner angle and frequency were 60° and 75 kHz, respectively. Meanwhile, the device also achieved an excellent mixing effect for high-viscosity fluids, such as glycerol (its viscosity was approximately 1000 times that of deionized (DI) water at 25 °C). The mixing time was less than 1 s, and the mixing efficiency was 0.95 in the experiment. Furthermore, a new microbubble generation method was demonstrated based on chemical reactions. A higher mixing efficiency (0.97) was achieved by combining the chemical and acoustic microbubble methods, which provides a new direction for future applications and is suitable for the needs of lab-on-a-chip (LOC) systems and point-of-care testing (POCT).