This paper proposes a miniature microwave-microfluidic chip based on continuous microfluidics and a miniature interdigital capacitor (IDC). The novel chip consists of three individually accessible heaters, three platinum temperature sensors and two liquid cooling and mixing zones. The IDC is designed to achieve localized, fast and uniform heating of nanoliter volumes flowing through the microfluidic channel. The heating performance of the IDC located on the novel chip was evaluated using a fluorescent dye (Rhodamine B) diluted in demineralized water on a novel microwave-optical-fluidic (MOF) measurement setup. The MOF setup allows simultaneous microwave excitation of the IDC by means of a custom-made printed circuit board (connected to microwave equipment) placed in a top stage of a microscope, manipulation of liquid flowing through the channel located over the IDC with a pump and optical inspection of the same liquid flowing over the IDC using a fast camera, a light source and the microscope. The designed IDC brings a liquid volume of around 1.2 nL from room temperature to 100 °C in 21 ms with 1.58 W at 25 GHz. Next to the heating capability, the designed IDC can dielectrically sense the flowing liquid. Liquid sensing was evaluated on different concentration of water-isopropanol mixtures, and a reflection coefficient magnitude change of 6 dB was recorded around 8.1 GHz, while the minimum of the reflection coefficient magnitude shifted in the same frequency range for 60 MHz.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited