Micromachines2015, 6(2), 216-229; doi:10.3390/mi6020216 - published 29 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study presents a double-side diaphragm peristaltic pump for efficient medium transport without the unwanted backflow and the lagging effect of a diaphragm. A theoretical model was derived to predict the important parameter of the micropump, i.e., the motion of the valves at large deformations, for a variety of air pressures. Accordingly, we proposed an easy and robust design to fabricate a Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based micropump. The theoretical model agrees with a numerical model and experimental data for the deformations of the PDMS membrane. Furthermore, variations of the generated flow rate, including pneumatic frequencies, actuated air pressures, and operation modes were evaluated experimentally for the proposed micropumps. In future, the theoretical equation could provide the optimal parameters for the scientists working on the fabrication of the diaphragm peristaltic pump for applications of cell-culture.
Micromachines2015, 6(2), 196-215; doi:10.3390/mi6020196 - published 28 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The accurate estimation of measurements covariance is a fundamental problem in sensors fusion algorithms and is crucial for the proper operation of filtering algorithms. This paper provides an innovative solution for this problem and realizes the proposed solution on a 2D indoor navigation system for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) that fuses measurements from a MEMS-grade gyroscope, speed measurements and a light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensor. A computationally efficient weighted line extraction method is introduced, where the LiDAR intensity measurements are used, such that the random range errors and systematic errors due to surface reflectivity in LiDAR measurements are considered. The vehicle pose change is obtained from LiDAR line feature matching, and the corresponding pose change covariance is also estimated by a weighted least squares-based technique. The estimated LiDAR-based pose changes are applied as periodic updates to the Inertial Navigation System (INS) in an innovative extended Kalman filter (EKF) design. Besides, the influences of the environment geometry layout and line estimation error are discussed. Real experiments in indoor environment are performed to evaluate the proposed algorithm. The results showed the great consistency between the LiDAR-estimated pose change covariance and the true accuracy. Therefore, this leads to a significant improvement in the vehicle’s integrated navigation accuracy.
Micromachines2015, 6(2), 186-195; doi:10.3390/mi6020186 - published 27 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We report an infrared (IR) optical switch using a wedge-like cell. A glycerol droplet is placed in the cell and its surrounding is filled with silicone oil. The droplet has minimal surface area to volume (SA/V) ratio in the relaxing state. By applying a voltage, the generated dielectric force pulls the droplet to move toward the region with thinner cell gap. As a result, the droplet is deformed by the substrates, causing the SA/V of the droplet to increase. When the voltage is removed, the droplet can return to its original place in order to minimize the surface energy. Owing to the absorption of glycerol at 1.55 μm, the shifted droplet can be used to attenuate an IR beam with the advantage of polarization independent. Fluidic devices based on this operation mechanism have potential applications in optical fiber switches, IR shutter, and variable optical attenuations.
Micromachines2015, 6(2), 172-185; doi:10.3390/mi6020172 - published 22 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work, we demonstrate continuous and discrete functions in a digital microfluidic platform in a programmed manner. Digital microfluidics is gaining popularity in biological and biomedical applications due to its ability to manipulate discrete droplet volumes (nL–pL), which significantly reduces the need for a costly and precious biological and physiological sample volume and, thus, diagnostic time. Despite the importance of discrete droplet volume handling, the ability of continuous microfluidics to process larger sample volumes at a higher throughput cannot be easily reproduced by merely using droplets. To bridge this gap, in this work, parallel channels are formed and programmed to split into multiple droplets, while droplets are programmed to be split from one channel, transferred and merged into another channel. This programmable handling of channels and droplets combines the continuous and digital paradigms of microfluidics, showing the potential for a wider range of microfluidic functions to enable applications ranging from clinical diagnostics in resource-limited environments, to rapid system prototyping, to high throughput pharmaceutical applications.
Micromachines2015, 6(2), 163-171; doi:10.3390/mi6020163 - published 22 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Single-cell electrical properties (e.g., specific membrane capacitance (Cspecific membrane) and cytoplasm conductivity (σcytoplasm)) have been regarded as potential label-free biophysical markers for the evaluation of cellular status. However, whether there exist correlations between these biophysical markers and cellular status (e.g., membrane-associate protein expression) is still unknown. To further validate the utility of single-cell electrical properties in cell type classification, Cspecific membrane and σcytoplasm of single PC-3 cells with membrane staining and/or fixation were analyzed and compared in this study. Four subtypes of PC-3 cells were prepared: untreated PC-3 cells, PC-3 cells with anti-EpCAM staining, PC-3 cells with fixation, and fixed PC-3 cells with anti-EpCAM staining. In experiments, suspended single cells were aspirated through microfluidic constriction channels with raw impedance data quantified and translated to Cspecific membrane and σcytoplasm. As to experimental results, significant differences in Cspecific membrane were observed for both live and fixed PC-3 cells with and without membrane staining, indicating that membrane staining proteins can contribute to electrical properties of cellular membranes. In addition, a significant decrease in σcytoplasm was located for PC-3 cells with and without fixation, suggesting that cytoplasm protein crosslinking during the fixation process can alter the cytoplasm conductivity. Overall, we have demonstrated how to classify single cells based on cellular electrical properties.