Micromachines2014, 5(4), 1270-1286; doi:10.3390/mi5041270 - published 27 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: As an extension of our previous study, the flow and mixing characteristics of a serpentine mixer in non-creeping flow conditions are investigated numerically. A periodic velocity field is obtained for each spatially periodic channel with the Reynolds number (Re) ranging from 0.1 to 70 and the channel aspect ratio from 0.25 to one. The flow kinematics is visualized by plotting the manifold of the deforming interface between two fluids. The progress of mixing affected by the Reynolds number and the channel geometry is characterized by a measure of mixing, the intensity of segregation, calculated using the concentration distribution. A mixer with a lower aspect ratio, which is a poor mixer in the creeping flow regime, turns out to be an efficient one above a threshold value of the Reynolds number, Re = 50. This is due to the combined effect of the enhanced rotational motion of fluid particles and back flows near the bends of the channel driven by inertia. As for a mixer with a higher aspect ratio, the intensity of segregation has its maximum around Re = 30, implying that inertia does not always have a positive influence on mixing in this mixer.
Micromachines2014, 5(4), 1254-1269; doi:10.3390/mi5041254 - published 27 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The ability to elicit distinct duty cycles from the same self-regulating microfluidic oscillator device would greatly enhance the versatility of this micro-machine as a tool, capable of recapitulating in vitro the diverse oscillatory processes that occur within natural systems. We report a novel approach to realize this using the coordinated modulation of input volumetric flow rate ratio and fluidic capacitance ratio. The demonstration uses a straightforward experimental system where fluid inflow to the oscillator is provided by two syringes (of symmetric or asymmetric cross-sectional area) mounted upon a single syringe pump applying pressure across both syringes at a constant linear velocity. This produces distinct volumetric outflow rates from each syringe that are proportional to the ratio between their cross-sectional areas. The difference in syringe cross-sectional area also leads to differences in fluidic capacitance; this underappreciated capacitive difference allows us to present a simplified expression to determine the microfluidic oscillators duty cycle as a function of cross-sectional area. Examination of multiple total volumetric inflows under asymmetric inflow rates yielded predictable and robust duty cycles ranging from 50% to 90%. A method for estimating the outflow duration for each inflow under applied flow rate ratios is provided to better facilitate the utilization of this system in experimental protocols requiring specific stimulation and rest intervals.
Micromachines2014, 5(4), 1219-1253; doi:10.3390/mi5041219 - published 20 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Femtosecond laser micromachining has emerged in recent years as a new technique for micro/nano structure fabrication because of its applicability to virtually all kinds of materials in an easy one-step process that is scalable. In the past, much research on femtosecond laser micromachining was carried out to understand the complex ablation mechanism, whereas recent works are mostly concerned with the fabrication of surface structures because of their numerous possible applications. The state-of-the-art knowledge on the fabrication of these structures on metals with direct femtosecond laser micromachining is reviewed in this article. The effect of various parameters, such as fluence, number of pulses, laser beam polarization, wavelength, incident angle, scan velocity, number of scans, and environment, on the formation of different structures is discussed in detail wherever possible. Furthermore, a guideline for surface structures optimization is provided. The authors’ experimental work on laser-inscribed regular pattern fabrication is presented to give a complete picture of micromachining processes. Finally, possible applications of laser-machined surface structures in different fields are briefly reviewed.
Micromachines2014, 5(4), 1202-1218; doi:10.3390/mi5041202 - published 19 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We analyze the opportunities provided by the plasmonic nanoparticles inserted into the bulk of a transparent medium to modify the material by laser light irradiation. This study is provoked by the advent of photo-induced nano-composites consisting of a typical polymer matrix and metal nanoparticles located in the light-irradiated domains of the initially homogeneous material. The subsequent irradiation of these domains by femtosecond laser pulses promotes a further alteration of the material properties. We separately consider two different mechanisms of material alteration. First, we analyze a photochemical reaction initiated by the two-photon absorption of light near the plasmonic nanoparticle within the matrix. We show that the spatial distribution of the products of such a reaction changes the symmetry of the material, resulting in the appearance of anisotropy in the initially isotropic material or even in the loss of the center of symmetry. Second, we analyze the efficiency of a thermally-activated chemical reaction at the surface of a plasmonic particle and the distribution of the product of such a reaction just near the metal nanoparticle irradiated by an ultrashort laser pulse.
Micromachines2014, 5(4), 1188-1201; doi:10.3390/mi5041188 - published 18 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The dispersion of cell deformability mapping is affected not only by the resolution of the sensing system, but also by cell deformability itself. In order to extract the pure deformability characteristics of cells, it is necessary to improve the resolution of cell actuation in the sensing system, particularly in the case of active sensing, where an actuator is essential. This paper proposes a novel concept, a “flow reduction mechanism”, where a flow is generated by a macroactuator placed outside of a microfluidic chip. The flow can be drastically reduced at the cell manipulation point in a microchannel due to the elasticity embedded into the fluid circuit of the microfluidic system. The great advantage of this approach is that we can easily construct a high resolution cell manipulation system by combining a macro-scale actuator and a macro-scale position sensor, even though the resolution of the actuator is larger than the desired resolution for cell manipulation. Focusing on this characteristic, we successfully achieved the cell positioning based on a visual feedback control with a resolution of 240 nm, corresponding to one pixel of the vision system. We show that the utilization of this positioning system contributes to reducing the dispersion coming from the positioning resolution in the cell deformability mapping.
Micromachines2014, 5(4), 1173-1187; doi:10.3390/mi5041173 - published 18 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper describes a light-addressable electrolytic system used to perform an electrodeposition of magnetically-guided cells encapsulated in alginate hydrogels using a digital micromirror device (DMD) for three-dimensional cell patterning. In this system, the magnetically-labeled cells were first manipulated into a specific arrangement by changing the orientation of the magnetic field, and then a patterned light illumination was projected onto a photoconductive substrate serving as a photo-anode to cause gelation of calcium alginate through sol-gel transition. By controlling the illumination pattern on the DMD, we first successfully produced cell-encapsulated multilayer alginate hydrogels with different shapes and sizes in each layer via performing multiplexed micropatterning. By combining the magnetically-labeled cells, light-addressable electrodeposition, and orientation of the magnetic fields, we have successfully demonstrated to fabricate two layers of the cell-encapsulated alginate hydrogels, where cells in each layer can be manipulated into cross-directional arrangements that mimic natural tissue. Our proposed method provides a programmable method for the spatiotemporally controllable assembly of cell populations into three-dimensional cell patterning and could have a wide range of biological applications in tissue engineering, toxicology, and drug discovery.