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Micromachines, Volume 10, Issue 12 (December 2019) – 93 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Flexible microfluidics is an emerging research area that will potentially bring a step change into chemistry, electronics, biology, and medicine. Large deformation of microchannels and strong fluid–structure interactions are examples of the distinct features of flexibility that may change the way microfluidic functions are implemented. A novel use of flexibility will allow unique solutions for valving, pumping, mixing, and separation. This paper discusses the fundamentals, materials, applications, and future perspectives of this exciting research area. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Study on Three-Dimensional Microstructure Copper Electroforming Based on 3D Printing Technology
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 887; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120887 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 604
Abstract
In order to fabricate three-dimensional metal microstructures, a combined machining process based on 3D printing technology and electroforming technology is proposed. Firstly, a substrate with microstructures is fabricated by 3D printing technology, and then the microstructures were fabricated by electroforming technology. The influence [...] Read more.
In order to fabricate three-dimensional metal microstructures, a combined machining process based on 3D printing technology and electroforming technology is proposed. Firstly, a substrate with microstructures is fabricated by 3D printing technology, and then the microstructures were fabricated by electroforming technology. The influence of process parameters such as current density, distance between electrodes and pulse current duty cycle on the electroformed layer were studied and analyzed. It was determined that the peak current density 6A/dm2, the void ratio 20%, and the distance between electrodes 40 mm were the optimum process conditions of electroforming experiment. The electroforming experiments of different microstructures were carried out with the optimum process parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section D:Materials and Processing)
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Open AccessFeature PaperConcept Paper
Efficient Development of Integrated Lab-On-A-Chip Systems Featuring Operational Robustness and Manufacturability
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120886 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 776
Abstract
The majority of commercially oriented microfluidic technologies provide novel point-of-use solutions for laboratory automation with important areas in the context of the life sciences such as health care, biopharma, veterinary medicine and agrifood as well as for monitoring of the environment, infrastructures and [...] Read more.
The majority of commercially oriented microfluidic technologies provide novel point-of-use solutions for laboratory automation with important areas in the context of the life sciences such as health care, biopharma, veterinary medicine and agrifood as well as for monitoring of the environment, infrastructures and industrial processes. Such systems are often composed of a modular setup exhibiting an instrument accommodating rather conventional actuation, detection and control units which interfaces with a fluidically integrated “Lab-on-a-Chip” device handling (bio-)sample(s) and reagents. As the complex network of tiny channels, chambers and surface-functionalised zones can typically not be properly cleaned and regenerated, these microfluidic chips are mostly devised as single-use disposables. The availability of cost-efficient materials and associated structuring, functionalisation and assembly schemes thus represents a key ingredient along the commercialisation pipeline and will be a first focus of this work. Furthermore, and owing to their innate variability, investigations on biosamples mostly require the acquisition of statistically relevant datasets. Consequently, intermediate numbers of consistently performing chips are already needed during application development; to mitigate the potential pitfalls of technology migration and to facilitate regulatory compliance of the end products, manufacture of such pilot series should widely follow larger-scale production schemes. To expedite and de-risk the development of commercially relevant microfluidic systems towards high Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs), we illustrate a streamlined, manufacturing-centric platform approach employing the paradigms of tolerance-forgiving Design-for-Manufacture (DfM) and Readiness for Scale-up (RfS) from prototyping to intermediate pilot series and eventual mass fabrication. Learning from mature industries, we further propose pursuing a platform approach incorporating aspects of standardisation in terms of specification, design rules and testing methods for materials, components, interfaces, and operational procedures; this coherent strategy will foster the emergence of dedicated commercial supply chains and also improve the economic viability of Lab-on-a-Chip systems often targeting smaller niche markets by synergistically bundling technology development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microsystems for Point-of-Care Testing)
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Open AccessArticle
A Low-Noise-Level Heart Sound System Based on Novel Thorax-Integration Head Design and Wavelet Denoising Algorithm
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 885; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120885 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 566
Abstract
Along with the great performance in diagnosing cardiovascular diseases, current stethoscopes perform unsatisfactorily in controlling undesired noise caused by the surrounding environment and detector operation. In this case, a low-noise-level heart sound system was designed to inhibit noise by a novel thorax-integration head [...] Read more.
Along with the great performance in diagnosing cardiovascular diseases, current stethoscopes perform unsatisfactorily in controlling undesired noise caused by the surrounding environment and detector operation. In this case, a low-noise-level heart sound system was designed to inhibit noise by a novel thorax-integration head with a flexible electric film. A hardware filter bank and wavelet-based algorithm were employed to enhance the recorded heart sounds from the system. In the experiments, we used the new system and the 3M™ Littmann® Model 3200 Electronic Stethoscope separately to record heart sounds in different noisy environments. The results illustrated that the average estimated noise ratio represented 21.26% and the lowest represented only 12.47% compared to the 3M stethoscope, demonstrating the better performance in denoising ability of this system than state-of-the-art equipment. Furthermore, based on the heart sounds recorded with this system, some diagnosis results were achieved from an expert and compared to echocardiography reports. The diagnoses were correct except for two uncertain items, which greatly confirmed the fact that this system could reserve complete pathological information in the end. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Foldable Chip Array for the Continuous Investigation of Seed Germination and the Subsequent Root Development of Seedlings
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 884; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120884 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 799
Abstract
Seed germination and seedling root development are important indicators of plant development. This work designed and fabricated a foldable microfluidic chip array for conducting nondestructive and continuous evaluation of seed germination and subsequent seedling development in situ. Each plant chamber has two functional [...] Read more.
Seed germination and seedling root development are important indicators of plant development. This work designed and fabricated a foldable microfluidic chip array for conducting nondestructive and continuous evaluation of seed germination and subsequent seedling development in situ. Each plant chamber has two functional units: seed germination part and root-growth part. The root-growth parts are themselves connected to a single channel designed to provide a uniform culture medium for plant growth. The individual chips are connected into an array using elastic hinges that facilitate the folding and unfolding of the array to accommodate different viewing purposes. In the folded state, the seed germination chambers form a closely spaced array platform to facilitate the comparison of seed germination and plant development characteristics. Unfolding the array facilitates a clear examination of root development within the root-growth parts. The observation window of an individual chip facilitates either the direct examination of the developing seedling (e.g., stems and leaves) or the use of a microscope for examining microscale features (e.g., root tips and root hairs). The potential of the proposed foldable chip array as a new cultivation platform for botanic studies is demonstrated by examining the seed germination and seedling development of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) under different cultivation conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidics for Cells and Other Organisms, Volume II)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Microfluidic Array Chip for Parallel Detection of Waterborne Bacteria
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 883; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120883 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1040
Abstract
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a robust technique used to make multiple copies of a segment of DNA. However, the available PCR platforms require elaborate and time-consuming operations or costly instruments, hindering their application. Herein, we introduce a sandwiched glass–polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)–glass microchip [...] Read more.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a robust technique used to make multiple copies of a segment of DNA. However, the available PCR platforms require elaborate and time-consuming operations or costly instruments, hindering their application. Herein, we introduce a sandwiched glass–polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)–glass microchip containing an array of reactors for the real-time PCR-based detection of multiple waterborne bacteria. The PCR solution was loaded into the array of reactors in a single step utilising capillary filling, eliminating the need for pumps, valves, and liquid handling instruments. Issues of generating and trapping bubbles during the loading chip step were addressed by creating smooth internal reactor surfaces. Triton X-100 was used to enhance PCR compatibility in the chip by minimising the nonspecific adsorption of enzymes. A custom-made real-time PCR instrument was also fabricated to provide thermal cycling to the array chip. The microfluidic device was successfully demonstrated for microbial faecal source tracking (MST) in water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Anniversary of Micromachines)
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Open AccessArticle
Local Acoustic Fields Powered Assembly of Microparticles and Applications
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 882; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120882 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 783
Abstract
Controllable assembly in nano-/microscale holds considerable promise for bioengineering, intracellular manipulation, diagnostic sensing, and biomedical applications. However, up to now, micro-/nanoscopic assembly methods are severely limited by the fabrication materials, as well as energy sources to achieve the effective propulsion. In particular, reproductive [...] Read more.
Controllable assembly in nano-/microscale holds considerable promise for bioengineering, intracellular manipulation, diagnostic sensing, and biomedical applications. However, up to now, micro-/nanoscopic assembly methods are severely limited by the fabrication materials, as well as energy sources to achieve the effective propulsion. In particular, reproductive manipulation and customized structure is quite essential for assemblies to accomplish a variety of on-demand tasks at small scales. Here, we present an attractive assembly strategy to collect microparticles, based on local acoustic forces nearby microstructures. The micro-manipulation chip is built based on an enhanced acoustic field, which could tightly trap microparticles to the boundaries of the microstructure by tuning the applied driving frequency and voltage. Numerical simulations and experimental demonstrations illustrate that the capturing and assembly of microparticles is closely related to the size of particles, owing to the vibration-induced locally enhanced acoustic field and resultant propulsion force. This acoustic assembly strategy can open extensive opportunities for lab-on-chip systems, microfactories, and micro-manipulators, among others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acoustofluidics)
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Open AccessArticle
Electroosmotic Flow Behavior of Viscoelastic LPTT Fluid in a Microchannel
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 881; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120881 - 15 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
In many research works, the fluid medium in electroosmosis is considered to be a Newtonian fluid, while the polymer solutions and biological fluids used in biomedical fields mostly belong to the non-Newtonian category. Based on the finite volume method (FVM), the electroosmotic flow [...] Read more.
In many research works, the fluid medium in electroosmosis is considered to be a Newtonian fluid, while the polymer solutions and biological fluids used in biomedical fields mostly belong to the non-Newtonian category. Based on the finite volume method (FVM), the electroosmotic flow (EOF) of viscoelastic fluids in near-neutral (pH = 7.5) solution considering four ions (K+, Cl, H+, OH) is numerically studied, as well as the viscoelastic fluids’ flow characteristics in a microchannel described by the Linear Phan-Thien–Tanner (LPTT) constitutive model under different conditions, including the electrical double layer (EDL) thickness, the Weissenberg number (Wi), the viscosity ratio and the polymer extensibility parameters. When the EDL does not overlap, the velocity profiles for both Newtonian and viscoelastic fluids are plug-like and increase sharply near the charged wall. Compared with Newtonian fluid at Wi = 3, the viscoelastic fluid velocity increases by 5 times and 9 times, respectively, under the EDL conditions of kH = 15 and kH = 250, indicating the shear thinning behavior of LPTT fluid. Shear stress obviously depends on the viscosity ratio and different Wi number conditions. The EOF is also enhanced by the increase (decrease) in polymer extensibility parameters (viscosity ratio). When the extensibility parameters are large, the contribution to velocity is gradually weakened. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano-Chip Electrokinetics, Volume III) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Microfluidic Transportation Control of Larval Zebrafish through Optomotor Regulations under a Pressure-Driven Flow
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120880 - 14 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
To perform zebrafish larvae-related experiments within a microfluidic environment, the larvae need to be anesthetized and subsequently transported into respective test sections through mechanical or manual means. However, anesthetization tends to affect larval sensory perceptions, hindering their natural behaviors. Taking into account that [...] Read more.
To perform zebrafish larvae-related experiments within a microfluidic environment, the larvae need to be anesthetized and subsequently transported into respective test sections through mechanical or manual means. However, anesthetization tends to affect larval sensory perceptions, hindering their natural behaviors. Taking into account that juvenile larvae move naturally within their environment by accessing visual as well as hydromechanical cues, this work proposes an experimental framework to transport nonanesthetized larvae within a microfluidic environment by harmonically tuning both of the aforementioned cues. To provide visual cues, computer-animated moving gratings were provided through an in-house-developed control interface that drove the larval optomotor response. In the meantime, to provide hydromechanical cues, the flow rate was tuned using a syringe pump that affected the zebrafish larvae’s lateral line movement. The results obtained (corresponding to different test conditions) suggest that the magnitude of both modalities plays a crucial role in larval transportation and orientation control. For instance, with a flow rate tuning of 0.1 mL/min along with grating parameters of 1 Hz temporal frequency, the average transportation time for larvae that were 5 days postfertilization was recorded at 1.29 ± 0.49 s, which was approximately three times faster than the transportation time required only in the presence of hydromechanical cues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimization of Microfluidic Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Wireless, Skin-Mountable EMG Sensor for Human–Machine Interface Application
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 879; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120879 - 14 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1269
Abstract
The development of advanced technologies for wireless data collection and the analysis of quantitative data, with application to a human–machine interface (HMI), is of growing interest. In particular, various wearable devices related to HMIs are being developed. These devices require a customization process [...] Read more.
The development of advanced technologies for wireless data collection and the analysis of quantitative data, with application to a human–machine interface (HMI), is of growing interest. In particular, various wearable devices related to HMIs are being developed. These devices require a customization process that considers the physical characteristics of each individual, such as mounting positions of electrodes, muscle masses, and so forth. Here, the authors report device and calculation concepts for flexible platforms that can measure electrical signals changed through electromyography (EMG). This soft, flexible, and lightweight EMG sensor can be attached to curved surfaces such as the forearm, biceps, back, legs, etc., and optimized biosignals can be obtained continuously through post-processing. In addition to the measurement of EMG signals, the application of the HMI has stable performance and high accuracy of more than 95%, as confirmed by 50 trials per case. The result of this study shows the possibility of application to various fields such as entertainment, the military, robotics, and healthcare in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Miniature Soft Biomedical Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Adaptive Nonlinearity Compensation System for Integrated Temperature and Moisture Sensor
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 878; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120878 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 599
Abstract
Measuring temperature and moisture are important in many scenarios. It has been verified that temperature greatly affects the accuracy of moisture sensing. Moisture sensing performance would suffer without temperature calibrations. This paper introduces a nonlinearity compensation technique for temperature-dependent nonlinearity calibration of moisture [...] Read more.
Measuring temperature and moisture are important in many scenarios. It has been verified that temperature greatly affects the accuracy of moisture sensing. Moisture sensing performance would suffer without temperature calibrations. This paper introduces a nonlinearity compensation technique for temperature-dependent nonlinearity calibration of moisture sensors, which is based on an adaptive nonlinear order regulating model. An adaptive algorithm is designed to automatically find the optimal order number, which was subsequently applied in a nonlinear mathematical model to compensate for the temperature effects and improve the moisture measurement accuracy. The integrated temperature and moisture sensor with the proposed adaptive nonlinear order regulating nonlinearity compensation technique is found to be more effective and yield better sensing performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study on a High Performance MEMS Infrared Thermopile Detector
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 877; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120877 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 735
Abstract
This paper presents a high-performance micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) thermopile infrared detector. It consists of a double-end beam and a dual-layer thermocouple structure, which improves the responsivity of the detector. The etch-stop structure is integrated into the detector to prevent isotropic etching-caused damage on [...] Read more.
This paper presents a high-performance micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) thermopile infrared detector. It consists of a double-end beam and a dual-layer thermocouple structure, which improves the responsivity of the detector. The etch-stop structure is integrated into the detector to prevent isotropic etching-caused damage on the device. The responsivity of the detector achieved 1151.14 V/W, and the measured response time was 14.46 ms. The detector had the potential to work as a high-precision temperature sensor and as a vacuum sensor. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impedance-Based Biosensing of Pseudomonas putida via Solution Blow Spun PLA: MWCNT Composite Nanofibers
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 876; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120876 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
Quantifiable sensing of common microbes in chronic wounds has the potential to enable an objective assessment of wound healing for diagnostic applications. Sensing platforms should be robust, simple, and flexible to provide clinicians with a point-of-care tool. In this work, solution blow spun [...] Read more.
Quantifiable sensing of common microbes in chronic wounds has the potential to enable an objective assessment of wound healing for diagnostic applications. Sensing platforms should be robust, simple, and flexible to provide clinicians with a point-of-care tool. In this work, solution blow spun poly (lactic acid)/multiwalled carbon nanotube nanofiber composites are used to detect the presence and concentration of Pseudomonas putida in vitro using changes in impedance. Impedance microbiology (IM) is a well-documented diagnostic technique used in many applications, including cancer detection, tuberculosis screening and pregnancy tests. Twenty-four hour real-time measurements of the equivalent circuit of three culture media were taken with an inductance, capacitance, and resistance (LCR) meter. Variations in impedance were calculated to correspond to the growth of P. putida. Additionally, instantaneous measurements of bacterial cultures were taken over a one-minute time point to display the fast sensing of bacterial load via IM. This proof-of-concept shows that conductive solution blow spun fiber mats is a valid fabrication technique to develop in situ wound dressing impedance sensors. Study results indicate successful measurement and quantification of bacterial growth in this proof-of-concept study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microsystems for Point-of-Care Testing)
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Output Power of InGaN Laser Diode Using Asymmetric In0.15Ga0.85N/In0.02Ga0.98N Multiple Quantum Wells
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120875 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 666
Abstract
Herein, the optical field distribution and electrical property improvements of the InGaN laser diode with an emission wavelength around 416 nm are theoretically investigated by adjusting the relative thickness of the first or last barrier layer in the three In0.15Ga0.85 [...] Read more.
Herein, the optical field distribution and electrical property improvements of the InGaN laser diode with an emission wavelength around 416 nm are theoretically investigated by adjusting the relative thickness of the first or last barrier layer in the three In0.15Ga0.85N/In0.02Ga0.98N quantum wells, which is achieved with the simulation program Crosslight. It was found that the thickness of the first or last InGaN barrier has strong effects on the threshold currents and output powers of the laser diodes. The optimal thickness of the first quantum barrier layer (FQB) and last quantum barrier layer (LQB) were found to be 225 nm and 300 nm, respectively. The thickness of LQB layer predominantly affects the output power compared to that of the FQB layer, and the highest output power achieved 3.87 times that of the reference structure (symmetric quantum well), which is attributed to reduced optical absorption loss as well as the reduced vertical electron leakage current leaking from the quantum wells to the p-type region. Our result proves that an appropriate LQB layer thickness is advantageous for achieving low threshold current and high output power lasers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wide Bandgap Based Devices: Design, Fabrication and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Algorithms for the Motion of Randomly Positioned Hexagonal and Square Microparts on a “Smart Platform” with Electrostatic Forces and a New Method for Their Simultaneous Centralization and Alignment
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 874; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120874 - 12 Dec 2019
Viewed by 757
Abstract
In this paper, an approach is proposed for the simultaneous manipulation of multiple hexagonal and square plastic–glass type microparts that are positioned randomly on a smart platform (SP) using electrostatic forces applied by the suitable activation of circular conductive electrodes. First, the statics [...] Read more.
In this paper, an approach is proposed for the simultaneous manipulation of multiple hexagonal and square plastic–glass type microparts that are positioned randomly on a smart platform (SP) using electrostatic forces applied by the suitable activation of circular conductive electrodes. First, the statics analysis of a micropart on the SP is presented in detail and the forces and torques that are applied to and around the center of mass (COM) respectively due to the activation of a SP electrode are determined. The “single electrode activation” (SEA) and the “multiple electrodes activations” (MEA) algorithms are introduced to determine the feasible SP electrodes activations for the microparts manipulation considering their initial configuration. An algorithm for the simultaneous handling of multiple microparts is studied considering the collision avoidance with neighboring microparts. An approach is presented for the simultaneous centralization and alignment of the microparts preparing them for their batch parallel motion on the SP. The developed algorithms are applied to a simulated platform and the results are presented and discussed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Fully Integrated In Vitro Diagnostic Microsystem for Pathogen Detection Developed Using a “3D Extensible” Microfluidic Design Paradigm
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120873 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 875
Abstract
Microfluidics is facing critical challenges in the quest of miniaturizing, integrating, and automating in vitro diagnostics, including the increasing complexity of assays, the gap between the macroscale world and the microscale devices, and the diverse throughput demands in various clinical settings. Here, a [...] Read more.
Microfluidics is facing critical challenges in the quest of miniaturizing, integrating, and automating in vitro diagnostics, including the increasing complexity of assays, the gap between the macroscale world and the microscale devices, and the diverse throughput demands in various clinical settings. Here, a “3D extensible” microfluidic design paradigm that consists of a set of basic structures and unit operations was developed for constructing any application-specific assay. Four basic structures—check valve (in), check valve (out), double-check valve (in and out), and on–off valve—were designed to mimic basic acts in biochemical assays. By combining these structures linearly, a series of unit operations can be readily formed. We then proposed a “3D extensible” architecture to fulfill the needs of the function integration, the adaptive “world-to-chip” interface, and the adjustable throughput in the X, Y, and Z directions, respectively. To verify this design paradigm, we developed a fully integrated loop-mediated isothermal amplification microsystem that can directly accept swab samples and detect Chlamydia trachomatis automatically with a sensitivity one order higher than that of the conventional kit. This demonstration validated the feasibility of using this paradigm to develop integrated and automated microsystems in a less risky and more consistent manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section B:Biology and Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of the Pd Nanoparticles-Assisted Chemical Etching of Silicon for Ethanol Solution Electrooxidation
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 872; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120872 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 763
Abstract
The formation of porous silicon by Pd nanoparticles-assisted chemical etching of single-crystal Si with resistivity ρ = 0.01 Ω·cm at 25 °C, 50 °C and 75 °C in HF/H2O2/H2O solution was studied. Porous layers of silicon were [...] Read more.
The formation of porous silicon by Pd nanoparticles-assisted chemical etching of single-crystal Si with resistivity ρ = 0.01 Ω·cm at 25 °C, 50 °C and 75 °C in HF/H2O2/H2O solution was studied. Porous layers of silicon were studied by optical and scanning electron microscopy, and gravimetric analysis. It is shown that por-Si, formed by Pd nanoparticles-assisted chemical etching, has the property of ethanol electrooxidation. The chromatographic analysis of ethanol electrooxidation products on por-Si/Pd shows that the main products are CO2, CH4, H2, CO, O2, acetaldehyde (CHO)+, methanol and water vapor. The mass activity of the por-Si/Pd system was investigated by measuring the short-circuit current in ethanol solutions. The influence of the thickness of porous silicon and wafer on the mass activity and the charge measured during ethanol electrooxidation was established. Additionally, the mechanism of charge transport during ethanol electrooxidation was established. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Microfluidic Detection System for Bladder Cancer Tumor Cells
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 871; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120871 - 11 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 861
Abstract
The clinical characteristics of excreted tumor cells can be found in the urine of bladder cancer patients, meaning the identification of tumor cells in urine can assist in bladder cancer diagnosis. The presence of white blood cells and epithelial cells in the urine [...] Read more.
The clinical characteristics of excreted tumor cells can be found in the urine of bladder cancer patients, meaning the identification of tumor cells in urine can assist in bladder cancer diagnosis. The presence of white blood cells and epithelial cells in the urine interferes with the recognition of tumor cells. In this paper, a technique for detecting cancer cells in urine based on microfluidics provides a novel approach to bladder cancer diagnosis. The bladder cancer cell line (T24) and MeT-5A were used as positive bladder tumor cells and non-tumor cells, respectively. The practicality of the tumor cell detection system based on microfluidic cell chip detection technology is discussed. The tumor cell (T24) concentration was around 1 × 104 to 300 × 104 cells/mL. When phosphate buffer saline (PBS) was the diluted solution, the tumor cell detected rate was 63–71% and the detection of tumor cell number stability (coefficient of variation, CV%) was 6.7–4.1%, while when urine was the diluted solution, the tumor cell detected rate was 64–72% and the detection of tumor cell number stability (CV%) was 6.3–3.9%. In addition, both PBS and urine are tumor cell dilution fluid solutions. The sample was analyzed at a speed of 750 microns per hour. Based on the above experiments, a system for detecting bladder cancer cells in urine by microfluidic analysis chip technology was reported. The rate of recognizing bladder cancer cells reached 68.4%, and the speed reached 2 mL/h. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidics Technologies for Cell-based Assays)
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Open AccessArticle
Automatic Micro-Robotic Identification and Electrical Characterization of Graphene
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120870 - 11 Dec 2019
Viewed by 735
Abstract
Micromechanically exfoliating graphene on S i / S i O 2 substrates is commonplace for graphene researchers, but locating actual graphene flakes on these substrates is a high-effort and tiresome task. The main purpose of this work was to establish a completely automated [...] Read more.
Micromechanically exfoliating graphene on S i / S i O 2 substrates is commonplace for graphene researchers, but locating actual graphene flakes on these substrates is a high-effort and tiresome task. The main purpose of this work was to establish a completely automated procedure to identify those graphene flakes with as little human interaction as possible, improving on the limitations of current methods. Furthermore, automatic electrical characterization of the identified flakes was performed. The proposed micro-robotic automation sequence consists of three main steps. To start, a sample surface plane is calculated, based on multiple foci points across the substrate. Secondly, flakes on the substrate are identified in the hue, saturation, and value (HSV) color space, with an implementation to fit the measurement probe, used to avoid undersized samples and adjust the flake orientation. Finally, electrical characterization is performed based on four point probe measurements with the Van der Pauw method. Results of the successfully implemented automation sequence are presented together with flake electrical properties and validation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessArticle
Microfluidic Reactors for Plasmonic Photocatalysis Using Gold Nanoparticles
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 869; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120869 - 11 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 902
Abstract
This work reports a microfluidic reactor that utilizes gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) for the highly efficient photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants under visible light. The bottom of microchamber has a TiO2 film covering a layer of AuNPs (namely, TiO2/AuNP film) deposited [...] Read more.
This work reports a microfluidic reactor that utilizes gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) for the highly efficient photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants under visible light. The bottom of microchamber has a TiO2 film covering a layer of AuNPs (namely, TiO2/AuNP film) deposited on the F-doped SnO2 (FTO) substrate. The rough surface of FTO helps to increase the surface area and the AuNPs enables the strong absorption of visible light to excite electron/hole pairs, which are then transferred to the TiO2 film for photodegradation. The TiO2 film also isolates the AuNPs from the solution to avoid detachment and photocorrosion. Experiments show that the TiO2/AuNP film has a strong absorption over 400–800 nm and enhances the reaction rate constant by 13 times with respect to the bare TiO2 film for the photodegradation of methylene blue. In addition, the TiO2/AuNP microreactor exhibits a negligible reduction of photoactivity after five cycles of repeated tests, which verifies the protective function of the TiO2 layer. This plasmonic photocatalytic microreactor draws the strengths of microfluidics and plasmonics, and may find potential applications in continuous photocatalytic water treatment and photosynthesis. The fabrication of the microreactor uses manual operation and requires no photolithography, making it simple, easy, and of low cost for real laboratory and field tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IMCO 2019)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Passive Wireless Pressure Sensing for Gastric Manometry
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 868; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120868 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 878
Abstract
We describe a wireless microsystem for gastrointestinal manometry that couples a microfabricated capacitive transducer to a dual-axis inductor, forming a resonant inductor-capacitor (LC) sensor within an ingestible 3D printed biocompatible capsule measuring ø 12 mm × 24 mm. An inductively coupled external telemetry [...] Read more.
We describe a wireless microsystem for gastrointestinal manometry that couples a microfabricated capacitive transducer to a dual-axis inductor, forming a resonant inductor-capacitor (LC) sensor within an ingestible 3D printed biocompatible capsule measuring ø 12 mm × 24 mm. An inductively coupled external telemetry unit wirelessly monitors the pressure dependent resonant frequency of the LC sensor, eliminating the need for integrated power sources within the ingested capsule. In vitro tests in saline show pressure response of −0.6 kHz/mmHg, interrogation distance up to 6 cm, and resolution up to 0.8 mmHg. In vivo functionality is validated with gastrointestinal pressure monitoring in a canine beagle over a 26-hour period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implantable Microdevices, Volume II)
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Open AccessArticle
Copolymeric Hydrogel-Based Immobilization of Yeast Cells for Continuous Biotransformation of Fumaric Acid in a Microreactor
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120867 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 797
Abstract
Although enzymatic microbioreactors have recently gained lots of attention, reports on the use of whole cells as biocatalysts in microreactors have been rather modest. In this work, an efficient microreactor with permeabilized Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells was developed and used for continuous biotransformation of [...] Read more.
Although enzymatic microbioreactors have recently gained lots of attention, reports on the use of whole cells as biocatalysts in microreactors have been rather modest. In this work, an efficient microreactor with permeabilized Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells was developed and used for continuous biotransformation of fumaric into industrially relevant L-malic acid. The immobilization of yeast cells was achieved by entrapment in a porous structure of various hydrogels. Copolymers based on different ratios of sodium alginate (SA) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) were used for hydrogel formation, while calcium chloride and boric or phenylboronic acid were tested as crosslinking agents for SA and PVA, respectively. The influence of hydrogel composition on physico-chemical properties of hydrogels prepared in the form of thin films was evaluated. Immobilization of permeabilized S. cerevisiae cells in the selected copolymeric hydrogel resulted in up to 72% retained fumarase activity. The continuous biotransformation process using two layers of hydrogels integrated into a two-plate microreactor revealed high space time yield of 2.86 g/(L·h) while no activity loss was recorded during 7 days of continuous operation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multifunctional Textile Platform for Fiber Optic Wearable Temperature-Monitoring Application
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 866; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120866 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
Wearable sensing technologies have been developed rapidly in the last decades for physiological and biomechanical signal monitoring. Much attention has been paid to functions of wearable applications, but comfort parameters have been overlooked. This research presents a developed fabric temperature sensor by adopting [...] Read more.
Wearable sensing technologies have been developed rapidly in the last decades for physiological and biomechanical signal monitoring. Much attention has been paid to functions of wearable applications, but comfort parameters have been overlooked. This research presents a developed fabric temperature sensor by adopting fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors and processing via a textile platform. This FBG-based quasi-distributed sensing system demonstrated a sensitivity of 10.61 ± 0.08 pm/°C with high stability in various temperature environments. No obvious wavelength shift occurred under the curvatures varying from 0 to 50.48 m−1 and in different integration methods with textiles. The temperature distribution monitored by the developed textile sensor in a complex environment with multiple heat sources was deduced using MATLAB to present a real-time dynamic temperature distribution in the wearing environment. This novel fabric temperature sensor shows high sensitivity, stability, and usability with comfort textile properties that are of great potential in wearable applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IMCO 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
µ-PIV Measurements of Flows Generated by Photolithography-Fabricated Achiral Microswimmers
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 865; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120865 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 901
Abstract
Robotic micro/nanoswimmers can potentially be used as tools for medical applications, such as drug delivery and noninvasive surgery. Recently, achiral microswimmers have gained significant attention because of their simple structures, which enables high-throughput fabrication and size scalability. Here, microparticle image velocimetry (µ-PIV) was [...] Read more.
Robotic micro/nanoswimmers can potentially be used as tools for medical applications, such as drug delivery and noninvasive surgery. Recently, achiral microswimmers have gained significant attention because of their simple structures, which enables high-throughput fabrication and size scalability. Here, microparticle image velocimetry (µ-PIV) was used to study the hydrodynamics of achiral microswimmers near a boundary. The structures of these microswimmers resemble the letter L and were fabricated using photolithography and thin-film deposition. Through µ-PIV measurements, the velocity flow fields of the microswimmers rotating at different frequencies were observed. The results herein yield an understanding of the hydrodynamics of the L-shaped microswimmers, which will be useful in applications such as fluidic manipulation. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Design and Fabrication of Flexible Naked-Eye 3D Display Film Element Based on Microstructure
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 864; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120864 - 09 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1356
Abstract
The naked-eye three-dimensional (3D) display technology without wearing equipment is an inevitable future development trend. In this paper, the design and fabrication of a flexible naked-eye 3D display film element based on a microstructure have been proposed to achieve a high-resolution 3D display [...] Read more.
The naked-eye three-dimensional (3D) display technology without wearing equipment is an inevitable future development trend. In this paper, the design and fabrication of a flexible naked-eye 3D display film element based on a microstructure have been proposed to achieve a high-resolution 3D display effect. The film element consists of two sets of key microstructures, namely, a microimage array (MIA) and microlens array (MLA). By establishing the basic structural model, the matching relationship between the two groups of microstructures has been studied. Based on 3D graphics software, a 3D object information acquisition model has been proposed to achieve a high-resolution MIA from different viewpoints, recording without crosstalk. In addition, lithography technology has been used to realize the fabrications of the MLA and MIA. Based on nanoimprint technology, a complete integration technology on a flexible film substrate has been formed. Finally, a flexible 3D display film element has been fabricated, which has a light weight and can be curled. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2D Nanomaterials Processing and Integration in Miniaturized Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Design, Analysis, and Experiment on a Novel Stick-Slip Piezoelectric Actuator with a Lever Mechanism
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 863; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120863 - 08 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 877
Abstract
A piezoelectric actuator using a lever mechanism is designed, fabricated, and tested with the aim of accomplishing long-travel precision linear driving based on the stick-slip principle. The proposed actuator mainly consists of a stator, an adjustment mechanism, a preload mechanism, a base, and [...] Read more.
A piezoelectric actuator using a lever mechanism is designed, fabricated, and tested with the aim of accomplishing long-travel precision linear driving based on the stick-slip principle. The proposed actuator mainly consists of a stator, an adjustment mechanism, a preload mechanism, a base, and a linear guide. The stator design, comprising a piezoelectric stack and a lever mechanism with a long hinge used to increase the displacement of the driving foot, is described. A simplified model of the stator is created. Its design parameters are determined by an analytical model and confirmed using the finite element method. In a series of experiments, a laser displacement sensor is employed to measure the displacement responses of the actuator under the application of different driving signals. The experiment results demonstrate that the velocity of the actuator rises from 0.05 mm/s to 1.8 mm/s with the frequency increasing from 30 Hz to 150 Hz and the voltage increasing from 30 V to 150 V. It is shown that the minimum step distance of the actuator is 0.875 μm. The proposed actuator features large stroke, a simple structure, fast response, and high resolution. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aperture Ratio Improvement by Optimizing the Voltage Slope and Reverse Pulse in the Driving Waveform for Electrowetting Displays
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 862; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120862 - 07 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 806
Abstract
Electrowetting display (EWD) performance is severely affected by ink distribution and charge trapping in pixel cells. Therefore, a multi structural driving waveform is proposed for improving the aperture ratio of EWDs. In this paper, the hysteresis characteristic (capacitance–voltage, C-V) curve of the EWD [...] Read more.
Electrowetting display (EWD) performance is severely affected by ink distribution and charge trapping in pixel cells. Therefore, a multi structural driving waveform is proposed for improving the aperture ratio of EWDs. In this paper, the hysteresis characteristic (capacitance–voltage, C-V) curve of the EWD pixel is tested and analyzed for obtaining the driving voltage value at the inflection point of the driving waveform. In the composition of driving waveform, a voltage slope is designed for preventing ink dispersion and a reverse pulse is designed for releasing the trapped charge which is caused by hysteresis characteristic. Finally, the frequency and the duty cycle of the driving waveform are optimized for the max aperture ratio by a series of testing. The experimental results show that the proposed driving waveform can improve the ink dispersion behavior, and the aperture ratio of the EWD is about 8% higher than the conventional driving waveform. At the same time, the response speed of the driving waveform can satisfy the dynamic display in EWDs, which provides a new idea for the design of the EWD driving scheme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optofluidic Devices and Applications) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
A Compound Control Based on the Piezo-Actuated Stage with Bouc–Wen Model
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 861; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120861 - 07 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 689
Abstract
The piezoelectric actuator (PA) is one of the most commonly used actuators in a micro-positioning stage. But its hysteresis non-linearity can cause error in the piezo-actuated stage. A modified Bouc–Wen model is presented in this paper to describe the hysteresis non-linearity of the [...] Read more.
The piezoelectric actuator (PA) is one of the most commonly used actuators in a micro-positioning stage. But its hysteresis non-linearity can cause error in the piezo-actuated stage. A modified Bouc–Wen model is presented in this paper to describe the hysteresis non-linearity of the piezo-actuated stage. This model can be divided into two categories according to the input frequency: rate-independent type and rate-dependent type. A particle swarm optimization method (PSO) is employed to identify these parameters of the Bouc–Wen hysteresis model. An inverse model feedforward compensator is established based on the modified Bouc–Wen model. The fuzzy proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller combined with the feedforward compensator is implemented to the piezo-actuated stage. The experimental results indicate that the proposed control strategy can compensate for the hysteresis phenomenon. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Light Extraction Analysis of AlGaInP Based Red and GaN Based Blue/Green Flip-Chip Micro-LEDs Using the Monte Carlo Ray Tracing Method
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 860; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120860 - 07 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1052
Abstract
Micro-scale light emitting diodes (micro-LEDs) commonly employ a thin-film flip-chip (TFFC) structure whose substrate is lifted off by an excimer laser. However, flip-chip (FC) micro-LEDs with a substrate can provide a sharp rise on sidewall emission by increasing the sidewall area. Here, we [...] Read more.
Micro-scale light emitting diodes (micro-LEDs) commonly employ a thin-film flip-chip (TFFC) structure whose substrate is lifted off by an excimer laser. However, flip-chip (FC) micro-LEDs with a substrate can provide a sharp rise on sidewall emission by increasing the sidewall area. Here, we investigate the influence of substrate thickness, encapsulation, surface texture, microstructures between the substrate and epilayer, as well as the size, cutting shape, and angle of the chip on the light extraction efficiencies (LEEs) of FC micro-LEDs by using the Monte Carlo ray tracing method. We find that the LEE of the blue FC micro-LED chip increases by 46.5% over that of the blue TFFC micro-LED chip. After the encapsulation with the epoxy lens is applied, the LEEs of the blue TFFC micro-LED and blue FC micro-LED increase by 129% and 110.5%, respectively. The underlying mechanisms for the use of surface texture, patterned sapphire substrate, air-void array, and chip shaping technologies to improve the LEEs of FC micro-LEDs are also investigated in detail. We find that the LEEs AlGaInP based red FC micro-LED and GaN based blue/green FC micro-LEDs exhibit a sharp rise when the chip size drops from 30 to 10 µm. The inverted trapezoid FC micro-LED with patterned sapphire substrate (PSS) and encapsulation shows extraordinarily strong top emission and high collimation. We believe that our study offers a promising and practical route for obtaining high efficiency micro-LEDs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Light-Emitters) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Accurate Measurements of the Rotational Velocities of Brushless Direct-Current Motors by Using an Ultrasensitive Magnetoimpedance Sensing System
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120859 - 06 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 790
Abstract
Reports on measurements of the rotational velocity by using giant magnetoimpedance (GMI) sensors are rarely seen. In this study, a rotational-velocity sensing system based on GMI effect was established to measure rotational velocities of brushless direct-current motors. Square waves and sawtooth waves were [...] Read more.
Reports on measurements of the rotational velocity by using giant magnetoimpedance (GMI) sensors are rarely seen. In this study, a rotational-velocity sensing system based on GMI effect was established to measure rotational velocities of brushless direct-current motors. Square waves and sawtooth waves were observed due to the rotation of the shaft. We also found that the square waves gradually became sawtooth waves with increasing the measurement distance and rotational velocity. The GMI-based rotational-velocity measurement results (1000–4300 r/min) were further confirmed using the Hall sensor. This GMI sensor is capable of measuring ultrahigh rotational velocity of 84,000 r/min with a large voltage response of 5 V, even when setting a large measurement distance of 9 cm. Accordingly, the GMI sensor is very useful for sensitive measurements of high rotational velocity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Miniaturized Generators)
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Open AccessArticle
Vertical Field Emission Air-Channel Diodes and Transistors
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 858; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120858 - 06 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 754
Abstract
Vacuum channel transistors are potential candidates for low-loss and high-speed electronic devices beyond complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors (CMOS). When the nanoscale transport distance is smaller than the mean free path (MFP) in atmospheric pressure, a transistor can work in air owing to the immunity of [...] Read more.
Vacuum channel transistors are potential candidates for low-loss and high-speed electronic devices beyond complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors (CMOS). When the nanoscale transport distance is smaller than the mean free path (MFP) in atmospheric pressure, a transistor can work in air owing to the immunity of carrier collision. The nature of a vacuum channel allows devices to function in a high-temperature radiation environment. This research intended to investigate gate location in a vertical vacuum channel transistor. The influence of scattering under different ambient pressure levels was evaluated using a transport distance of about 60 nm, around the range of MFP in air. The finite element model suggests that gate electrodes should be near emitters in vertical vacuum channel transistors because the electrodes exhibit high-drive currents and low-subthreshold swings. The particle trajectory model indicates that collected electron flow (electric current) performs like a typical metal oxide semiconductor field effect-transistor (MOSFET), and that gate voltage plays a role in enhancing emission electrons. The results of the measurement on vertical diodes show that current and voltage under reduced pressure and filled with CO2 are different from those under atmospheric pressure. This result implies that this design can be used for gas and pressure sensing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Miniaturized Transistors, Volume II)
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