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Open AccessArticle

A Microfluidic Concentration Gradient Maker with Tunable Concentration Profiles by Changing Feed Flow Rate Ratios

by Tao Zhang 1,†, Jiyu Meng 1,†, Shanshan Li 1,2,*, Chengzhuang Yu 1, Junwei Li 3,4, Chunyang Wei 1 and Shijie Dai 1,*
1
Hebei Key Laboratory of Robotic Sensing and Human-robot interactions, School of Mechanical Engineering, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin 300132, China
2
National Key Laboratory of Reliability and Electrical Equipment, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin 300130, China
3
Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Hebei University of Technology, Langfang 065000, China
4
Institute of Biophysics, School of Science, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin 300401, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contribute equally.
Micromachines 2020, 11(3), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11030284
Received: 22 February 2020 / Revised: 6 March 2020 / Accepted: 8 March 2020 / Published: 10 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Machines)
Microfluidic chips—in which chemical or biological fluid samples are mixed into linear or nonlinear concentration distribution profiles—have generated enormous enthusiasm of their ability to develop patterns for drug release and their potential toxicology applications. These microfluidic devices have untapped potential for varying concentration patterns by the use of one single device or by easy-to-operate procedures. To address this challenge, we developed a soft-lithography-fabricated microfluidic platform that enabled one single device to be used as a concentration maker, which could generate linear, bell-type, or even S-type concentration profiles by tuning the feed flow rate ratios of each independent inlet. Here, we present an FFRR (feed flow rate ratio) adjustment approach to generate tens of types of concentration gradient profiles with one single device. To demonstrate the advantages of this approach, we used a Christmas-tree-like microfluidic chip as the demo. Its performance was analyzed using numerical simulation models and experimental investigations, and it showed an excellent time response (~10 s). With on-demand flow rate ratios, the FFRR microfluidic device could be used for many lab-on-a-chip applications where flexible concentration profiles are required for analysis. View Full-Text
Keywords: microfluidics; concentration gradient; nonlinear; feed flow rate ratios mixing microfluidics; concentration gradient; nonlinear; feed flow rate ratios mixing
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Zhang, T.; Meng, J.; Li, S.; Yu, C.; Li, J.; Wei, C.; Dai, S. A Microfluidic Concentration Gradient Maker with Tunable Concentration Profiles by Changing Feed Flow Rate Ratios. Micromachines 2020, 11, 284.

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