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Circuit-Based Design of Microfluidic Drop Networks

Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zürich, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland
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Academic Editors: Zebing Mao, Jin Xie and Hong Ding
Micromachines 2022, 13(7), 1124; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071124
Received: 8 June 2022 / Revised: 11 July 2022 / Accepted: 12 July 2022 / Published: 16 July 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Smart Devices and Systems)
Microfluidic-drop networks consist of several stable drops—interconnected through microfluidic channels—in which organ models can be cultured long-term. Drop networks feature a versatile configuration and an air–liquid interface (ALI). This ALI provides ample oxygenation, rapid liquid turnover, passive degassing, and liquid-phase stability through capillary pressure. Mathematical modeling, e.g., by using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), is a powerful tool to design drop-based microfluidic devices and to optimize their operation. Although CFD is the most rigorous technique to model flow, it falls short in terms of computational efficiency. Alternatively, the hydraulic–electric analogy is an efficient “first-pass” method to explore the design and operation parameter space of microfluidic-drop networks. However, there are no direct electric analogs to a drop, due to the nonlinear nature of the capillary pressure of the ALI. Here, we present a circuit-based model of hanging- and standing-drop compartments. We show a phase diagram describing the nonlinearity of the capillary pressure of a hanging drop. This diagram explains how to experimentally ensure drop stability. We present a methodology to find flow rates and pressures within drop networks. Finally, we review several applications, where the method, outlined in this paper, was instrumental in optimizing design and operation. View Full-Text
Keywords: hanging-drop network; standing-drop network; capillary pressure; hydrostatic pressure; hydraulic-circuit analogy; fluid shear stress hanging-drop network; standing-drop network; capillary pressure; hydrostatic pressure; hydraulic-circuit analogy; fluid shear stress
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rousset, N.; Lohasz, C.; Boos, J.A.; Misun, P.M.; Cardes, F.; Hierlemann, A. Circuit-Based Design of Microfluidic Drop Networks. Micromachines 2022, 13, 1124. https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071124

AMA Style

Rousset N, Lohasz C, Boos JA, Misun PM, Cardes F, Hierlemann A. Circuit-Based Design of Microfluidic Drop Networks. Micromachines. 2022; 13(7):1124. https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071124

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rousset, Nassim, Christian Lohasz, Julia Alicia Boos, Patrick M. Misun, Fernando Cardes, and Andreas Hierlemann. 2022. "Circuit-Based Design of Microfluidic Drop Networks" Micromachines 13, no. 7: 1124. https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071124

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