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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(11), 22826-22844; doi:10.3390/ijms141122826

Tuning Fluidic Resistance via Liquid Crystal Microfluidics

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self Organization (MPIDS), Am Faßberg 17, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Received: 26 September 2013 / Revised: 4 November 2013 / Accepted: 8 November 2013 / Published: 19 November 2013
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Flow of molecularly ordered fluids, like liquid crystals, is inherently coupled with the average local orientation of the molecules, or the director. The anisotropic coupling—typically absent in isotropic fluids—bestows unique functionalities to the flowing matrix. In this work, we harness this anisotropy to pattern different pathways to tunable fluidic resistance within microfluidic devices. We use a nematic liquid crystalline material flowing in microchannels to demonstrate passive and active modulation of the flow resistance. While appropriate surface anchoring conditions—which imprint distinct fluidic resistances within microchannels under similar hydrodynamic parameters—act as passive cues, an external field, e.g., temperature, is used to actively modulate the flow resistance in the microfluidic device. We apply this simple concept to fabricate basic fluidic circuits, which can be hierarchically extended to create complex resistance networks, without any additional design or morphological patterning of the microchannels.
Keywords: microfluidics; liquid crystals; surface anchoring; flow resistance; flow circuits microfluidics; liquid crystals; surface anchoring; flow resistance; flow circuits

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Sengupta, A. Tuning Fluidic Resistance via Liquid Crystal Microfluidics. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 22826-22844.

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