Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Micro Light Flow Controller on a Programmable Waveguide Engine
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1990; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111990 - 16 Nov 2022
Viewed by 403
Abstract
A light flow controller that can regulate the three-port optical power in both lossless and lossy modus is realized on a programmable multimode waveguide engine. The microheaters on the waveguide chip mimic the tunable “pixels” that can continuously adjust the local refractive index. [...] Read more.
A light flow controller that can regulate the three-port optical power in both lossless and lossy modus is realized on a programmable multimode waveguide engine. The microheaters on the waveguide chip mimic the tunable “pixels” that can continuously adjust the local refractive index. Compared to the conventional method where the tuning takes place only on single-mode waveguides, the proposed structure is more compact and requires less electrodes. The local index changes in a multimode waveguide can alter the mode numbers, field distribution, and propagation constants of each individual mode, all of which can alter the multimode interference pattern significantly. However, these changes are mostly complex and not governed by analytical equations as in the single-mode case. Though numerical simulations can be performed to predict the device response, the thermal and electromagnetic computing involved is mostly time-consuming. Here, a multi-level search program is developed based on experiments only. It can reach a target output in real time by adjusting the microheaters collectively and iteratively. It can also jump over local optima and further improve the cost function on a global level. With only a simple waveguide structure and four microheaters, light can be routed freely into any of the three output ports with arbitrary power ratios, with and without extra attenuation. This work may trigger new ideas in developing compact and efficient photonic integrated devices for applications in optical communication and computing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano-Structure Based Optoelectronics and Photonics Devices)
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Article
Rapid Bacterial Motility Monitoring Using Inexpensive 3D-Printed OpenFlexure Microscopy Allows Microfluidic Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1974; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111974 - 14 Nov 2022
Viewed by 381
Abstract
Antibiotic susceptibility testing is vital to tackle the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Inexpensive digital CMOS cameras can be converted into portable digital microscopes using 3D printed x-y-z stages. Microscopic examination of bacterial motility can rapidly detect the response of microbes to [...] Read more.
Antibiotic susceptibility testing is vital to tackle the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Inexpensive digital CMOS cameras can be converted into portable digital microscopes using 3D printed x-y-z stages. Microscopic examination of bacterial motility can rapidly detect the response of microbes to antibiotics to determine susceptibility. Here, we present a new simple microdevice-miniature microscope cell measurement system for multiplexed antibiotic susceptibility testing. The microdevice is made using melt-extruded plastic film strips containing ten parallel 0.2 mm diameter microcapillaries. Two different antibiotics, ceftazidime and gentamicin, were prepared in Mueller-Hinton agar (0.4%) to produce an antibiotic-loaded microdevice for simple sample addition. This combination was selected to closely match current standard methods for both antibiotic susceptibility testing and motility testing. Use of low agar concentration permits observation of motile bacteria responding to antibiotic exposure as they enter capillaries. This device fits onto the OpenFlexure 3D-printed digital microscope using a Raspberry Pi computer and v2 camera, avoiding need for expensive laboratory microscopes. This inexpensive and portable digital microscope platform had sufficient magnification to detect motile bacteria, yet wide enough field of view to monitor bacteria behavior as they entered antibiotic-loaded microcapillaries. The image quality was sufficient to detect how bacterial motility was inhibited by different concentrations of antibiotic. We conclude that a 3D-printed Raspberry Pi-based microscope combined with disposable microfluidic test strips permit rapid, easy-to-use bacterial motility detection, with potential for aiding detection of antibiotic resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Microfluidic Flow Cytometry)
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Article
Improving Swimming Performance of Photolithography-Based Microswimmers Using Curvature Structures
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1965; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111965 - 12 Nov 2022
Viewed by 574
Abstract
The emergence of robotic microswimmers and their huge potential in biomedical applications such as drug delivery, non-invasive surgery, and bio-sensing facilitates studies to improve their effectiveness. Recently, achiral microswimmers that have neither flexible nor helical structures have garnered attention because of their simple [...] Read more.
The emergence of robotic microswimmers and their huge potential in biomedical applications such as drug delivery, non-invasive surgery, and bio-sensing facilitates studies to improve their effectiveness. Recently, achiral microswimmers that have neither flexible nor helical structures have garnered attention because of their simple structures and fabrication process while preserving adequate swimming velocity and controllability. In this paper, the crescent shape was utilized to create photolithography-fabricated crescent-shaped achiral microswimmers. The microswimmers were actuated using rotating magnetic fields at low Reynolds numbers. Compared with the previously reported achiral microswimmers, the crescent-shaped microswimmers showed significant improvement in forward swimming speed. The effects of different curvatures, arm angles, and procession angles on the velocities of microswimmers were investigated. Moreover, the optimal swimming motion was defined by adjusting the field strength of the magnetic field. Finally, the effect of the thickness of the microswimmers on their swimming velocity was investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magnetic Microrobots for Biomedical Applications)
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Article
Picoliter Droplet Generation and Dense Bead-in-Droplet Encapsulation via Microfluidic Devices Fabricated via 3D Printed Molds
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1946; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111946 - 10 Nov 2022
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Picoliter-scale droplets have many applications in chemistry and biology, such as biomolecule synthesis, drug discovery, nucleic acid quantification, and single cell analysis. However, due to the complicated processes used to fabricate microfluidic channels, most picoliter (pL) droplet generation methods are limited to research [...] Read more.
Picoliter-scale droplets have many applications in chemistry and biology, such as biomolecule synthesis, drug discovery, nucleic acid quantification, and single cell analysis. However, due to the complicated processes used to fabricate microfluidic channels, most picoliter (pL) droplet generation methods are limited to research in laboratories with cleanroom facilities and complex instrumentation. The purpose of this work is to investigate a method that uses 3D printing to fabricate microfluidic devices that can generate droplets with sizes <100 pL and encapsulate single dense beads mechanistically. Our device generated monodisperse droplets as small as ~48 pL and we demonstrated the usefulness of this droplet generation technique in biomolecule analysis by detecting Lactobacillus acidophillus 16s rRNA via digital loop-mediated isothermal amplification (dLAMP). We also designed a mixer that can be integrated into a syringe to overcome dense bead sedimentation and found that the bead-in-droplet (BiD) emulsions created from our device had <2% of the droplets populated with more than 1 bead. This study will enable researchers to create devices that generate pL-scale droplets and encapsulate dense beads with inexpensive and simple instrumentation (3D printer and syringe pump). The rapid prototyping and integration ability of this module with other components or processes can accelerate the development of point-of-care microfluidic devices that use droplet-bead emulsions to analyze biological or chemical samples with high throughput and precision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet-Based Microfluidics: Design, Fabrication and Applications)
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Article
Interface Dynamics and the Influence of Gravity on Droplet Generation in a Y-microchannel
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1941; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111941 - 10 Nov 2022
Viewed by 367
Abstract
The present experimental investigation is focused on the influence of gravity upon water-droplet formation in a Y-microchannel filled with oil. The flows are in the Stokes regime, with very small capillary numbers and Ohnesorge numbers less than one. The study was performed in [...] Read more.
The present experimental investigation is focused on the influence of gravity upon water-droplet formation in a Y-microchannel filled with oil. The flows are in the Stokes regime, with very small capillary numbers and Ohnesorge numbers less than one. The study was performed in a square-cross-section channel, with a = 1.0 mm as the characteristic dimension and a flow rate ratio κ in a range between 0.55 and 1.8. The interface dynamics in the vicinity of breakup and the transitory plug flow regime after the detachment of the droplet were analysed. The dependence of droplet length L was correlated with the channel position against the gravity and κ parameters. The results of the work prove that, for κ=1, the droplet length L is independent of channel orientation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidics for Health Monitoring)
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Article
Fabrication and Evaluation of Tubule-on-a-Chip with RPTEC/HUVEC Co-Culture Using Injection-Molded Polycarbonate Chips
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1932; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111932 - 09 Nov 2022
Viewed by 515
Abstract
To simulate the ADME process such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion in the human body after drug administration and to confirm the applicability of the mass production process, a microfluidic chip injection molded with polycarbonate (injection-molded chip (I-M chip)) was fabricated. Polycarbonate [...] Read more.
To simulate the ADME process such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion in the human body after drug administration and to confirm the applicability of the mass production process, a microfluidic chip injection molded with polycarbonate (injection-molded chip (I-M chip)) was fabricated. Polycarbonate materials were selected to minimize drug absorption. As a first step to evaluate the I-M chip, RPTEC (Human Renal Proximal Tubule Epithelial Cells) and HUVEC (Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells) were co-cultured, and live and dead staining, TEER (trans-epithelial electrical resistance), glucose reabsorption, and permeability were compared using different membrane pore sizes of 0.4 μm and 3 μm. Drug excretion was confirmed through a pharmacokinetic test with metformin and cimetidine, and the gene expression of drug transporters was confirmed. As a result, it was confirmed that the cell viability was higher in the 3 μm pore size than in the 0.4 μm, the cell culture performed better, and the drug secretion was enhanced when the pore size was large. The injection-molded polycarbonate microfluidic chip is anticipated to be commercially viable for drug screening devices, particularly ADME tests. Full article
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Article
Thermo-Optic Phase Shifter with Interleaved Suspended Design for Power Efficiency and Speed Adjustment
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1925; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111925 - 08 Nov 2022
Viewed by 320
Abstract
Conventional thermo-optic devices—which can be broadly categorized to that with and without a thermal isolation trench—typically come with a tradeoff between thermal tuning efficiency and tuning speed. Here, we propose a method that allows us to directly define the tradeoff using a specially [...] Read more.
Conventional thermo-optic devices—which can be broadly categorized to that with and without a thermal isolation trench—typically come with a tradeoff between thermal tuning efficiency and tuning speed. Here, we propose a method that allows us to directly define the tradeoff using a specially designed thermo-optic phase shifter with an interleaved isolation trench. With the design, the tuning efficiency and speed can be precisely tailored simply by controlling the duty ratio (suspended length over total heater length) of the suspended design. Phase shifters are one of the main components in photonic-integrated circuits, and having phase shifters with a flexible design approach may enable the wide adoption of photonic applications such as an optical neural network and LiDAR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silicon Photonic Devices and Integration)
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Article
Dynamic Behaviours of Monodisperse Double Emulsion Formation in a Tri-Axial Capillary Device
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1877; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111877 - 31 Oct 2022
Viewed by 458
Abstract
We investigated experimentally, analytically, and numerically the formation process of double emulsion formations under a dripping regime in a tri-axial co-flow capillary device. The results show that mismatches of core and shell droplets under a given flow condition can be captured both experimentally [...] Read more.
We investigated experimentally, analytically, and numerically the formation process of double emulsion formations under a dripping regime in a tri-axial co-flow capillary device. The results show that mismatches of core and shell droplets under a given flow condition can be captured both experimentally and numerically. We propose a semi-analytical model using the match ratio between the pinch-off length of the shell droplet and the product of the core growth rate and its pinch-off time. The mismatch issue can be avoided if the match ratio is lower than unity. We considered a model with the wall effect to predict the size of the matched double emulsion. The model shows slight deviations with experimental data if the Reynolds number of the continuous phase is lower than 0.06 but asymptotically approaches good agreement if the Reynolds number increases from 0.06 to 0.14. The numerical simulation generally agrees with the experiments under various flow conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet-Based Microfluidics: Design, Fabrication and Applications)
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Article
High-Quality Fiber Bragg Gratings Inscribed by Femtosecond Laser Point-by-Point Technology
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1808; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111808 - 23 Oct 2022
Viewed by 422
Abstract
We experimentally studied the inscription of fiber Bragg gratings by using femtosecond (fs) laser point-by-point (PbP) technology. The effects of the focusing geometry, grating order, laser energy and grating length on the spectral characteristics of the PbP FBG were investigated. After [...] Read more.
We experimentally studied the inscription of fiber Bragg gratings by using femtosecond (fs) laser point-by-point (PbP) technology. The effects of the focusing geometry, grating order, laser energy and grating length on the spectral characteristics of the PbP FBG were investigated. After optimizing these parameters, a high-quality first-order PbP FBG with a reflectivity > 99.9% (i.e., Bragg resonance attenuation of 37.7 dB) and insertion loss (IL) of 0.03 dB was successfully created. Moreover, taking advantage of the excellent flexibility of the fs laser PbP technology, high-quality FBGs with various Bragg wavelengths ranging from 856 to 1902.6 nm were inscribed. Furthermore, wavelength-division-multiplexed (WDM) FBG arrays consisting of 10 FBGs were rapidly constructed. Additionally, a Fabry-Perot cavity was realized by using two high-quality FBGs, and its birefringence could be reduced from 3.04 × 10−5 to 1.77 × 10−6 by using a slit beam shaping-assisted femtosecond laser PbP technology. Therefore, such high-quality FBGs are promising to improve the performance of optical fiber sensors, lasers and communication devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Laser Fabrication for Optical Sensors)
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Article
Heterogeneous CMOS Integration of InGaAs-OI nMOSFETs and Ge pMOSFETs Based on Dual-Gate Oxide Technique
Micromachines 2022, 13(11), 1806; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13111806 - 23 Oct 2022
Viewed by 375
Abstract
A compatible fabrication technology for integrating InGaAs nMOSFETs and Ge pMOSFETs is developed based on the development of the two-step gate oxide fabrication strategy. The direct wafer bonding method was utilized to obtain the InGaAs-Insulator-Ge structure, providing the heterogeneous channels for CMOS integration. [...] Read more.
A compatible fabrication technology for integrating InGaAs nMOSFETs and Ge pMOSFETs is developed based on the development of the two-step gate oxide fabrication strategy. The direct wafer bonding method was utilized to obtain the InGaAs-Insulator-Ge structure, providing the heterogeneous channels for CMOS integration. Superior transistor characteristics were achieved by optimizing the InGaAs gate oxide with a self-cleaning process in atomic layer deposition, and modifying the Ge gate oxide by the ozone post oxidation (OPO) technique, in the sequential two-step gate oxide fabrication process. With the combination of the gate-first fabrication process, superior on- and off-state characteristics, i.e., on current up to 8.3 µA/μm and leakage as low as 106 µA/μm, have been demonstrated in the integrated MOSFETs, together with the preferable symmetric output characteristics that promises excellent CMOS performances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section D1: Semiconductor Devices)
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Article
Origami Inspired Laser Scanner
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1796; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101796 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 511
Abstract
Diverse origami techniques and various selections of paper open new possibilities to create micromachines. By folding paper, this article proposes an original approach to build laser scanners, which manipulate optical beams precisely and realize valuable applications, including laser marking, cutting, engraving, and displaying. [...] Read more.
Diverse origami techniques and various selections of paper open new possibilities to create micromachines. By folding paper, this article proposes an original approach to build laser scanners, which manipulate optical beams precisely and realize valuable applications, including laser marking, cutting, engraving, and displaying. A prototype has been designed, implemented, actuated, and controlled. The experimental results demonstrate that the angular stroke, repeatability, full scale settling time, and resonant frequency are 20°, 0.849 m°, 330 ms, 68 Hz, respectively. Its durability, more than 35 million cycles, shows the potential to carry out serious tasks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Origami Devices: Design and Application)
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Article
Millimeter-Wave Permittivity Variations of an HR Silicon Substrate from the Photoconductive Effect
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1782; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101782 - 19 Oct 2022
Viewed by 532
Abstract
The photoinduced microwave complex permittivity of a highly resistive single-crystal silicon wafer was extracted from a bistatic free-space characterization test bench operating in the 26.5–40 GHz frequency band under CW optical illumination at wavelengths of 806 and 971 nm. Significant variations in the [...] Read more.
The photoinduced microwave complex permittivity of a highly resistive single-crystal silicon wafer was extracted from a bistatic free-space characterization test bench operating in the 26.5–40 GHz frequency band under CW optical illumination at wavelengths of 806 and 971 nm. Significant variations in the real and imaginary parts of the substrate’s permittivity induced by direct photoconductivity are reported, with an optical power density dependence, in agreement with the theoretical predictions. These experimental results open the route to ultrafast system reconfiguration of microwave devices in integrated technology by an external EMI-protected and contactless control with unprecedented performance. Full article
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Article
A Sensitive and Portable Double-Layer Microfluidic Biochip for Harmful Algae Detection
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1759; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101759 - 18 Oct 2022
Viewed by 725
Abstract
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are common disastrous ecological anomalies in coastal waters. An effective algae monitoring approach is important for natural disaster warning and environmental governance. However, conducting rapid and sensitive detection of multiple algae is still challenging. Here, we designed an ultrasensitive, [...] Read more.
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are common disastrous ecological anomalies in coastal waters. An effective algae monitoring approach is important for natural disaster warning and environmental governance. However, conducting rapid and sensitive detection of multiple algae is still challenging. Here, we designed an ultrasensitive, rapid and portable double-layer microfluidic biochip for the simultaneous quantitative detection of six species of algae. Specific DNA probes based on the 18S ribosomal DNA (18S rDNA) gene fragments of HABs were designed and labeled with the fluorescent molecule cyanine-3 (Cy3). The biochip had multiple graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets-based reaction units, in which GO nanosheets were applied to transfer target DNA to the fluorescence signal through a photoluminescence detection system. The entire detection process of multiple algae was completed within 45 min with the linear range of fluorescence recovery of 0.1 fM–100 nM, and the detection limit reached 108 aM. The proposed approach has a simple detection process and high detection performance and is feasible to conduct accurate detection with matched portable detection equipment. It will have promising applications in marine natural disaster monitoring and environmental care. Full article
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Article
Metasurfaces as Energy Valves for Sustainable Energy Management
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1769; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101769 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 478
Abstract
Control of light absorption and transmission by metal–insulator–metal (MIM) metasurfaces are promising for applications in optical windows. This study shows the realization of photo-thermal energy conversion for radiative cooling by MIM metasurfaces with thin metal substrate and Indium–Tin–Oxide (ITO). High transparency of ITO [...] Read more.
Control of light absorption and transmission by metal–insulator–metal (MIM) metasurfaces are promising for applications in optical windows. This study shows the realization of photo-thermal energy conversion for radiative cooling by MIM metasurfaces with thin metal substrate and Indium–Tin–Oxide (ITO). High transparency of ITO at visible wavelengths and high absorption at mid-infrared wavelengths were realized for future applications of efficient cooling or heating applicable for living and working spaces. The MIM (ITO/CaF2/ITO) metasurface was patterned with low-resolution photo-lithography as a demonstration of further simplification and possible scalability of the patterning for practical window applications. Full article
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Article
A Vertical Single Transistor Neuron with Core–Shell Dual-Gate for Excitatory–Inhibitory Function and Tunable Firing Threshold Voltage
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1740; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101740 - 14 Oct 2022
Viewed by 595
Abstract
A novel inhibitable and firing threshold voltage tunable vertical nanowire (NW) single transistor neuron device with core–shell dual-gate (CSDG) was realized and verified by TCAD simulation. The CSDG NW neuron is enclosed by an independently accessed shell gate and core gate to serve [...] Read more.
A novel inhibitable and firing threshold voltage tunable vertical nanowire (NW) single transistor neuron device with core–shell dual-gate (CSDG) was realized and verified by TCAD simulation. The CSDG NW neuron is enclosed by an independently accessed shell gate and core gate to serve an excitatory–inhibitory transition and a firing threshold voltage adjustment, respectively. By utilizing the shell gate, the firing of specific neuron can be inhibited for winner-takes-all learning. It was confirmed that the independently accessed core gate can be used for adjustment of the firing threshold voltage to compensate random conductance variation before the learning and to fix inference error caused by unwanted synapse conductance change after the learning. This threshold voltage tuning can also be utilized for homeostatic function during the learning process. Furthermore, a myelination function which controls the transmission rate was obtained based on the inherent asymmetry between the source and drain in vertical NW structure. Finally, using the CSDG NW neuron device, a letter recognition test was conducted by SPICE simulation for a system-level validation. This multi-functional neuron device can contribute to construct a high-density monolithic SNN hardware combining with the previously developed vertical synapse MOSFET devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Powered Devices and Systems)
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Article
Electromechanical Properties of 3D-Printed Stretchable Carbon Fiber Composites
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1732; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101732 - 13 Oct 2022
Viewed by 479
Abstract
The addition of fillers has been implemented in fused filament fabrication (FFF), and robust carbon fillers have been found to improve the mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties of 3D-printed matrices. However, in stretchable matrices, the use of fillers imposes significant challenges related to [...] Read more.
The addition of fillers has been implemented in fused filament fabrication (FFF), and robust carbon fillers have been found to improve the mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties of 3D-printed matrices. However, in stretchable matrices, the use of fillers imposes significant challenges related to quality and durability. In this work, we show that long carbon staple fibers in the form of permeable carbon fiber cloth (CFC) can be placed into a stretchable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) matrix to improve the system. Four CFC sample series (nominally 53–159-µm-thick CFC layers) were prepared with a permeable and compliant thin CFC layer and a highly conductive and stiff thick CFC layer. The sample series was tested with single pull-up tests and cyclic tensile tests with 10,000 cycles and was further studied with digital image correlation (DIC) analyses. The results showed that embedded CFC layers in a TPU matrix can be used for stretchable 3D-printed electronics structures. Samples with a thin 53 µm CFC layer retained electrical properties at 50% cyclic tensile deformations, whereas the samples with a thick >150-µm CFC layer exhibited the lowest resistance (5 Ω/10 mm). Between those structures, the 106-µm-thick CFC layer exhibited balanced electromechanical properties, with resistance changes of 0.5% in the cyclic tests after the orientation of the samples. Furthermore, the suitability of the structure as a sensor was estimated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flexible and Wearable Sensors)
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Article
Scalable, Dual-Band Metasurface Array for Electromagnetic Energy Harvesting and Wireless Power Transfer
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1712; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101712 - 11 Oct 2022
Viewed by 511
Abstract
A dual-band metasurface array is presented in this paper for electromagnetic (EM) energy harvesting in the Wi-Fi band and Ku band. The array consists of metasurface unit cells, rectifiers, and load resistors. The metasurface units within each column are interconnected to establish two [...] Read more.
A dual-band metasurface array is presented in this paper for electromagnetic (EM) energy harvesting in the Wi-Fi band and Ku band. The array consists of metasurface unit cells, rectifiers, and load resistors. The metasurface units within each column are interconnected to establish two channels of energy delivery, enabling the transmission and aggregation of incident power. At the terminals of two channels, a single series diode rectifier and a voltage doubler rectifier are integrated into them to rectify the energy in the Wi-Fi band and the Ku band, respectively. A 7 × 7 prototype of the metasurface array is fabricated and tested. The measured results in the anechoic chamber show that the RF-to-dc efficiencies of the prototype at 2.4 GHz and 12.6 GHz reach 64% and 55% accordingly, when the available incident power at the surface is 3 dBm and 14 dBm, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advanced Energy Harvesting Technology)
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Article
The Effect of Non-Uniform Magnetic Field on the Efficiency of Mixing in Droplet-Based Microfluidics: A Numerical Investigation
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101661 - 02 Oct 2022
Viewed by 664
Abstract
Achieving high efficiency and throughput in droplet-based mixing over a small characteristic length, such as microfluidic channels, is one of the crucial parameters in Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) applications. One solution to achieve efficient mixing is to use active mixers in which an external power [...] Read more.
Achieving high efficiency and throughput in droplet-based mixing over a small characteristic length, such as microfluidic channels, is one of the crucial parameters in Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) applications. One solution to achieve efficient mixing is to use active mixers in which an external power source is utilized to mix two fluids. One of these active methods is magnetic micromixers using ferrofluid. In this technique, magnetic nanoparticles are used to make one phase responsive to magnetic force, and then by applying a magnetic field, two fluid phases, one of which is magneto-responsive, will sufficiently mix. In this study, we investigated the effect of the magnetic field’s characteristics on the efficiency of the mixing process inside droplets. When different concentrations of ferrofluids are affected by a constant magnetic field, there is no significant change in mixing efficiency. As the magnetic field intensifies, the magnetic force makes the circulation flow inside the droplet asymmetric, leading to chaotic advection, which creates a flow that increases the mixing efficiency. The results show that the use of magnetic fields is an effective method to enhance the mixing efficiency within droplets, and the efficiency of mixing increases from 65.4 to 86.1% by increasing the magnetic field intensity from 0 to 90 mT. Besides that, the effect of ferrofluid’s concentration on the mixing efficiency is studied. It is shown that when the concentration of the ferrofluid changes from 0 to 0.6 mol/m3, the mixing efficiency increases considerably. It is also shown that by changing the intensity of the magnetic field, the mixing efficiency increases by about 11%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Microfluidics for Liquid Handling and Biochemical Analysis)
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Article
Transient Response Characteristics Analysis of High-Power Piezoelectric Transducers
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1638; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101638 - 29 Sep 2022
Viewed by 413
Abstract
To improve suitability in applications with high dynamic performance requirements, the transient response characteristics of high-power piezoelectric transducers should be studied quantitatively. This paper proposes the vector reduction method to solve the complex transient equations and obtains a transient matching scheme clarifying the [...] Read more.
To improve suitability in applications with high dynamic performance requirements, the transient response characteristics of high-power piezoelectric transducers should be studied quantitatively. This paper proposes the vector reduction method to solve the complex transient equations and obtains a transient matching scheme clarifying the mechanism of electrical matching resistance on electromechanical damping. A matching scheme with a combination of full-bridge inverter, transformer and series LC circuit is designed and validated, which can provide suitable electrical damping without causing energy losses. Consequently, the experiment verifies the transient properties of the proposed scheme. For a typical piezoelectric cutting transducer with 100.8 ms response time, our scheme is verified to have high dynamic performance within frequency response time of 5.5 ms and vibration response time of 15.0 ms. Full article
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Article
A Miniaturized Piezoelectric MEMS Accelerometer with Polygon Topological Cantilever Structure
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1608; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101608 - 27 Sep 2022
Viewed by 537
Abstract
This work proposes a miniaturized piezoelectric MEMS accelerometer based on polygonal topology with an area of only 868 × 833 μm2. The device consists of six trapezoidal cantilever beams with shorter fixed sides. Meanwhile, a device with larger fixed sides is [...] Read more.
This work proposes a miniaturized piezoelectric MEMS accelerometer based on polygonal topology with an area of only 868 × 833 μm2. The device consists of six trapezoidal cantilever beams with shorter fixed sides. Meanwhile, a device with larger fixed sides is also designed for comparison. The theoretical and finite element models are established to analyze the effect of the beam′s effective stiffness on the output voltage and natural frequency. As the stiffness of the device decreases, the natural frequency of the device decreases while the output signal increases. The proposed polygonal topology with shorter fixed sides has higher voltage sensitivity than the larger fixed one based on finite element simulations. The piezoelectric accelerometers are fabricated using Cavity-SOI substrates with a core piezoelectric film of aluminum nitride (AlN) of about 928 nm. The fabricated piezoelectric MEMS accelerometers have good linearity (0.99996) at accelerations less than 2 g. The measured natural frequency of the accelerometer with shorter fixed sides is 98 kHz, and the sensitivity, resolution, and minimum detectable signal at 400 Hz are 1.553 mV/g, 1 mg, and 2 mg, respectively. Compared with the traditional trapezoidal cantilever with the same diaphragm area, its output voltage sensitivity is increased by 22.48%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MEMS Accelerometers: Design, Applications and Characterization)
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Article
A Disposable Electromagnetic Bi-Directional Micropump Utilizing a Rotating Multi-Pole Ring Magnetic Coupling
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1565; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101565 - 21 Sep 2022
Viewed by 509
Abstract
Electromagnetic bi-directional micropumps (EMBM) are indispensable for the development of portable devices which enable fluid transportation in forward and reverse directions. However, the high disposal cost of rare-earth magnets attached to the fluidic part and the low pump density due to multiple motors [...] Read more.
Electromagnetic bi-directional micropumps (EMBM) are indispensable for the development of portable devices which enable fluid transportation in forward and reverse directions. However, the high disposal cost of rare-earth magnets attached to the fluidic part and the low pump density due to multiple motors limit their practical application in disposable multi-channel microfluidic applications such as droplet-based oscillatory-flow (DBOF) rapid PCR amplification. Therefore, this paper presented a low-cost, disposable, high-pump-density EMBM. To reduce the disposal cost, we separated the magnets from the disposable fluidic part and used cylindrical holes to store and guide the magnet, which resulted in the ability to reuse all the magnets. To increase the pump density, we used the combination of one motor and one multi-pole ring magnet to drive several channels simultaneously. A proof-of-concept prototype with a pump density of 0.28 cm−2 was fabricated and experimentally evaluated. The fabricated micropump exhibited a maximum flow rate of 0.86 mL/min and a maximum backpressure of 0.5 kPa at a resonant frequency around 50 Hz. The developed multi-channel micropump with reusable magnets is highly beneficial to the development of low-cost and high-throughput rapid PCR amplification microchips and therefore can have a significant impact on timely infectious disease recognition and intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidics: Emerging Tool in Point-of-Care Testing)
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Communication
The Reflectance Characteristics of an Inverse Moth-Eye Structure in a Silicon Substrate Depending on SF6/O2 Plasma Etching Conditions
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1556; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101556 - 20 Sep 2022
Viewed by 463
Abstract
The global RE100 campaign is attracting attention worldwide due to climate change caused by global warming, increasingly highlighting the efficiency of renewable energy. Texturing of photovoltaic devices increases the devices’ efficiency by reducing light reflectance at their surfaces. This study introduces the change [...] Read more.
The global RE100 campaign is attracting attention worldwide due to climate change caused by global warming, increasingly highlighting the efficiency of renewable energy. Texturing of photovoltaic devices increases the devices’ efficiency by reducing light reflectance at their surfaces. This study introduces the change in light reflectance following the process conditions of plasma etching as a texturing process to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic cells. Isotropic etching was induced through plasma using SF6 gas, and the etch profile was modulated by adding O2 gas to reduce light reflectance. A high etch rate produces high surface roughness, which results in low surface reflectance properties. The inverse moth-eye structure was implemented using a square PR pattern arranged diagonally and showed the minimum reflectance in visible light at a tip spacing of 1 μm. This study can be applied to the development of higher-efficiency optical devices. Full article
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Article
Low Buffer Trapping Effects above 1200 V in Normally off GaN-on-Silicon Field Effect Transistors
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1519; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091519 - 14 Sep 2022
Viewed by 594
Abstract
We report on the fabrication and electrical characterization of AlGaN/GaN normally off transistors on silicon designed for high-voltage operation. The normally off configuration was achieved with a p-gallium nitride (p-GaN) cap layer below the gate, enabling a positive threshold voltage higher than +1 [...] Read more.
We report on the fabrication and electrical characterization of AlGaN/GaN normally off transistors on silicon designed for high-voltage operation. The normally off configuration was achieved with a p-gallium nitride (p-GaN) cap layer below the gate, enabling a positive threshold voltage higher than +1 V. The buffer structure was based on AlN/GaN superlattices (SLs), delivering a vertical breakdown voltage close to 1.5 kV with a low leakage current all the way to 1200 V. With the grounded substrate, the hard breakdown voltage transistors at VGS = 0 V is 1.45 kV, corresponding to an outstanding average vertical breakdown field higher than 2.4 MV/cm. High-voltage characterizations revealed a state-of-the-art combination of breakdown voltage at VGS = 0 V together with low buffer electron trapping effects up to 1.4 kV, as assessed by means of substrate ramp measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue III–V Compound Semiconductors and Devices)
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Article
Rapid and Continuous Cryopreservation of Stem Cells with a 3D Micromixer
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1516; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091516 - 13 Sep 2022
Viewed by 736
Abstract
Cryopreservation is the final step of stem cell production before the cryostorage of the product. Conventional methods of adding cryoprotecting agents (CPA) into the cells can be manual or automated with robotic arms. However, challenging issues with these methods at industrial-scale production are [...] Read more.
Cryopreservation is the final step of stem cell production before the cryostorage of the product. Conventional methods of adding cryoprotecting agents (CPA) into the cells can be manual or automated with robotic arms. However, challenging issues with these methods at industrial-scale production are the insufficient mixing of cells and CPA, leading to damage of cells, discontinuous feeding, the batch-to-batch difference in products, and, occasionally, cross-contamination. Therefore, the current study proposes an alternative way to overcome the abovementioned challenges; a highly efficient micromixer for low-cost, continuous, labour-free, and automated mixing of stem cells with CPA solutions. Our results show that our micromixer provides a more homogenous mixing of cells and CPA compared to the manual mixing method, while the cell properties, including surface markers, differentiation potential, proliferation, morphology, and therapeutic potential, are well preserved. Full article
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Article
Soft Molds with Micro-Machined Internal Skeletons Improve Robustness of Flapping-Wing Robots
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1489; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091489 - 07 Sep 2022
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Mobile millimeter and centimeter scale robots often use smart composite manufacturing (SCM) for the construction of body components and mechanisms. The fabrication of SCM mechanisms requires laser machining and laminating flexible, adhesive, and structural materials into small-scale hinges, transmissions, and, ultimately, wings or [...] Read more.
Mobile millimeter and centimeter scale robots often use smart composite manufacturing (SCM) for the construction of body components and mechanisms. The fabrication of SCM mechanisms requires laser machining and laminating flexible, adhesive, and structural materials into small-scale hinges, transmissions, and, ultimately, wings or legs. However, a fundamental limitation of SCM components is the plastic deformation and failure of flexures. In this work, we demonstrate that encasing SCM components in a soft silicone mold dramatically improves the durability of SCM flexure hinges and provides robustness to SCM components. We demonstrate this advance in the design of a flapping-wing robot that uses an underactuated compliant transmission fabricated with an inner SCM skeleton and exterior silicone mold. The transmission design is optimized to achieve desired wingstroke requirements and to allow for independent motion of each wing. We validate these design choices in bench-top tests, measuring transmission compliance, kinematics, and fatigue. We integrate the transmission with laminate wings and two types of actuation, demonstrating elastic energy exchange and limited lift-off capabilities. Lastly, we tested collision mitigation through flapping-wing experiments that obstructed the motion of a wing. These experiments demonstrate that an underactuated compliant transmission can provide resilience and robustness to flapping-wing robots. Full article
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Article
Thermal Performance Improvement of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs Using Nanocrystalline Diamond Capping Layers
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091486 - 07 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 521
Abstract
Nanocrystalline diamond capping layers have been demonstrated to improve thermal management for AlGaN/GaN HEMTs. To improve the RF devices, the application of the technology, the technological approaches and device characteristics of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs with gate length less than 0.5 μm using nanocrystalline diamond [...] Read more.
Nanocrystalline diamond capping layers have been demonstrated to improve thermal management for AlGaN/GaN HEMTs. To improve the RF devices, the application of the technology, the technological approaches and device characteristics of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs with gate length less than 0.5 μm using nanocrystalline diamond capping layers have been studied systematically. The approach of diamond-before-gate has been adopted to resolve the growth of nanocrystalline diamond capping layers and compatibility with the Schottky gate of GaN HEMTs, and the processes of diamond multi-step etching technique and AlGaN barrier protection are presented to improve the technological challenge of gate metal. The GaN HEMTs with nanocrystalline diamond passivated structure have been successfully prepared; the heat dissipation capability and electrical characteristics have been evaluated. The results show the that thermal resistance of GaN HEMTs with nanocrystalline diamond passivated structure is lower than conventional SiN-GaN HEMTs by 21.4%, and the mechanism of heat transfer for NDC-GaN HEMTs is revealed by simulation method in theory. Meanwhile, the GaN HEMTs with nanocrystalline diamond passivated structure has excellent output, small signal gain and cut-off frequency characteristics, especially the current–voltage, which has a 27.9% improvement than conventional SiN-GaN HEMTs. The nanocrystalline diamond capping layers for GaN HEMTs has significant performance advantages over the conventional SiN passivated structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Diamond Electronic Devices)
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Article
All-MEMS Lidar Using Hybrid Optical Architecture with Digital Micromirror Devices and a 2D-MEMS Mirror
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1444; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091444 - 01 Sep 2022
Viewed by 940
Abstract
In a lidar system, replacing moving components with solid-state devices is highly anticipated to make a reliable and compact lidar system, provided that a substantially large beam area with a large angular extent as well as high angular resolution is assured for the [...] Read more.
In a lidar system, replacing moving components with solid-state devices is highly anticipated to make a reliable and compact lidar system, provided that a substantially large beam area with a large angular extent as well as high angular resolution is assured for the lidar transmitter and receiver. A new quasi-solid-state lidar optical architecture employs a transmitter with a two-dimensional MEMS mirror for fine beam steering at a fraction of the degree of the angular resolution and is combined with a digital micromirror device for wide FOV scanning over 37 degree while sustaining a large aperture area of 140 mm squared. In the receiver, a second digital micromirror device is synchronized to the transmitter DMD, which enables a large FOV receiver. An angular resolution of 0.57°(H) by 0.23° (V) was achieved with 0.588 fps for scanning 1344 points within the field of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beam Steering via Arrayed Micromachines)
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Article
Evaluating and Visualizing the Contribution of ECG Characteristic Waveforms for PPG-Based Blood Pressure Estimation
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1438; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091438 - 31 Aug 2022
Viewed by 634
Abstract
Non-invasive continuous blood pressure monitoring is of great significance for the preventing, diagnosing, and treating of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Studies have demonstrated that photoplethysmogram (PPG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) signals can effectively and continuously predict blood pressure (BP). However, most of the BP estimation [...] Read more.
Non-invasive continuous blood pressure monitoring is of great significance for the preventing, diagnosing, and treating of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Studies have demonstrated that photoplethysmogram (PPG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) signals can effectively and continuously predict blood pressure (BP). However, most of the BP estimation models focus on the waveform features of the PPG signal, while the peak value of R-wave in ECG is only used as a time reference, and few references investigated the ECG waveforms. This paper aims to evaluate the influence of three characteristic waveforms in ECG on the improvement of BP estimation. PPG is the primary signal, and five input combinations are formed by adding ECG, P wave, QRS complex, T wave, and none. We employ five common convolutional neural networks (CNN) to validate the consistency of the contribution. Meanwhile, with the visualization of Gradient-weighted class activation mapping (Grad-CAM), we generate the heat maps and further visualize the distribution of CNN’s attention to each waveform of PPG and ECG. The heat maps show that networks pay more attention to the QRS complex and T wave. In the comparison results, the QRS complex and T wave have more contribution to minimizing errors than P wave. By separately adding P wave, QRS complex, and T wave, the average MAE of these networks reaches 7.87 mmHg, 6.57 mmHg, and 6.21 mmHg for systolic blood pressure (SBP), and 4.27 mmHg, 3.65 mmHg, and 3.73 mmHg, respectively, for diastolic blood pressure (DBP). The results of the experiment show that QRS complex and T wave deserves more attention and feature extraction like PPG waveform features in the continuous BP estimation. Full article
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Article
Nucleic Acid Detection with Ion Concentration Polarization Microfluidic Chip for Reduced Cycle Numbers of Polymerase Chain Reaction
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1394; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091394 - 26 Aug 2022
Viewed by 713
Abstract
Nucleic acid detection is widely used in disease diagnosis, food safety, environmental monitoring and many other research fields. The continuous development of rapid and sensitive new methods to detective nucleic acid is very important for practical application. In this study, we developed a [...] Read more.
Nucleic acid detection is widely used in disease diagnosis, food safety, environmental monitoring and many other research fields. The continuous development of rapid and sensitive new methods to detective nucleic acid is very important for practical application. In this study, we developed a rapid nucleic-acid detection method using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) combined with electrokinetic preconcentration based on ion concentration polarization (ICP). Using a Nafion film, the proposed ICP microfluidic chip is utilized to enrich the nucleic acid molecules amplified by PCR thermal cycles. To demonstrate the capability of the microfluidic device and the hybrid nucleic-acid detection method, we present an animal-derived component detection experiment for meat product identification applications. With the reduced cycle numbers of 24 cycles, the detection can be completed in about 35 min. The experimental results show that this work can provide a microfluidic device and straightforward method for rapid detection of nucleic acids with reduced cycle numbers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2022)
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Article
Scalable Additive Construction of Arrayed Microstructures with Encoded Properties for Bioimaging
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1392; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091392 - 25 Aug 2022
Viewed by 727
Abstract
Microarrays are essential components of analytical instruments. The elements of microarrays may be imbued with additional functionalities and encodings using composite materials and structures, but traditional microfabrication methods present substantial barriers to fabrication, design, and scalability. In this work, a tool-free technique was [...] Read more.
Microarrays are essential components of analytical instruments. The elements of microarrays may be imbued with additional functionalities and encodings using composite materials and structures, but traditional microfabrication methods present substantial barriers to fabrication, design, and scalability. In this work, a tool-free technique was reported to additively batch-construct micromolded, composite, and arrayed microstructures. The method required only a compatible carrier fluid to deposit a material onto a substrate with some topography. Permutations of this basic fabrication approach were leveraged to gain control over the volumes and positions of deposited materials within the microstructures. As a proof of concept, cell micro-carrier arrays were constructed to demonstrate a range of designs, compositions, functionalities, and applications for composite microstructures. This approach is envisioned to enable the fabrication of complex composite biological and synthetic microelements for biosensing, cellular analysis, and biochemical screening. Full article
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Article
On-Skin Flexible Pressure Sensor with High Sensitivity for Portable Pulse Monitoring
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1390; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091390 - 25 Aug 2022
Viewed by 640
Abstract
Radial artery pulse pressure contains abundant cardiovascular physiological and pathological information, which plays an important role in clinical diagnosis of traditional Chinese medical science. However, many photoelectric sensors and pressure sensors will lose a large number of waveform features in monitoring pulse, which [...] Read more.
Radial artery pulse pressure contains abundant cardiovascular physiological and pathological information, which plays an important role in clinical diagnosis of traditional Chinese medical science. However, many photoelectric sensors and pressure sensors will lose a large number of waveform features in monitoring pulse, which will make it difficult for doctors to precisely evaluate the patients’ health. In this letter, we proposed an on-skin flexible pressure sensor for monitoring radial artery pulse. The sensor consists of the MXene (Ti3C2Tx)-coated nonwoven fabrics (n-WFs) sensitive layer and laser-engraved interdigital copper electrodes. Benefiting from substantially increased conductive paths between fibers and electrodes during normal compression, the sensor obtains high sensitivity (3.187 kPa−1), fast response time (15 ms), low detection limit (11.1 Pa), and long-term durability (20,000 cycles). Furthermore, a flexible processing circuit was connected with the sensor mounted on wrist radial artery, achieving wirelessly precise monitoring of the pulse on smart phones in real time. Compared with the commercial flexible pressure sensor, our sensor successfully captures weak systolic peak precisely, showing its great clinical potential and commercial value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flexible and Wearable Sensors)
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Article
Oscillation Dynamics of Multiple Water Droplets Levitated in an Acoustic Field
Micromachines 2022, 13(9), 1373; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13091373 - 23 Aug 2022
Viewed by 548
Abstract
This study aimed to improve and investigate the oscillation dynamics and levitation stability of acoustically levitated water droplets. Contactless sample manipulation technology in mid-air has attracted significant attention in the fields of biochemistry and pharmaceutical science. Although one promising method is acoustic levitation, [...] Read more.
This study aimed to improve and investigate the oscillation dynamics and levitation stability of acoustically levitated water droplets. Contactless sample manipulation technology in mid-air has attracted significant attention in the fields of biochemistry and pharmaceutical science. Although one promising method is acoustic levitation, most studies have focused on a single sample. Therefore, it is important to determine the stability of multiple samples during acoustic levitation. Here, we aim to understand the effect of multiple-sample levitation on levitation stability in acoustic fields. We visualized the oscillatory motion of multiple levitated droplets using a high-speed video camera. To characterize the dynamics of multiple levitating droplets, the oscillation frequency and restoring force coefficients of the levitated samples, which were obtained from the experimental data, were analyzed to quantify the droplet–droplet interaction. The oscillation model of the spring-mass system was compared with the experimental results, and we found that the number of levitating droplets and their position played an important role in the levitation stability of the droplets. Our insights could help us understand the oscillatory behavior of levitated droplets to achieve more stable levitation. Full article
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Article
Acoustic Manipulation of Intraocular Particles
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1362; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081362 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 916
Abstract
Various conditions cause dispersions of particulate matter to circulate inside the anterior chamber of a human eye. These dispersed particles might reduce visual acuity or promote elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP), causing secondary complications such as particle related glaucoma, which is a major [...] Read more.
Various conditions cause dispersions of particulate matter to circulate inside the anterior chamber of a human eye. These dispersed particles might reduce visual acuity or promote elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP), causing secondary complications such as particle related glaucoma, which is a major cause of blindness. Medical and surgical treatment options are available to manage these complications, yet preventive measures are not currently available. Conceptually, manipulating these dispersed particles in a way that reduces their negative impact could prevent these complications. However, as the eye is a closed system, manipulating dispersed particles in it is challenging. Standing acoustic waves have been previously shown to be a versatile tool for manipulation of bioparticles from nano-sized extracellular vesicles up to millimeter-sized organisms. Here we introduce for the first time a novel method utilizing standing acoustic waves to noninvasively manipulate intraocular particles inside the anterior chamber. Using a cylindrical acoustic resonator, we show ex vivo manipulation of pigmentary particles inside porcine eyes. We study the effect of wave intensity over time and rule out temperature changes that could damage tissues. Optical coherence tomography and histologic evaluations show no signs of damage or any other side effect that could be attributed to acoustic manipulation. Finally, we lay out a clear pathway to how this technique can be used as a non-invasive tool for preventing secondary glaucoma. This concept has the potential to control and arrange intraocular particles in specific locations without causing any damage to ocular tissue and allow aqueous humor normal outflow which is crucial for maintaining proper IOP levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Acoustofluidics)
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Article
Design and Fabrication of Millimeter-Wave Frequency-Tunable Metamaterial Absorber Using MEMS Cantilever Actuators
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1354; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081354 - 20 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 715
Abstract
In this paper, a MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems)-based frequency-tunable metamaterial absorber for millimeter-wave application was demonstrated. To achieve the resonant-frequency tunability of the absorber, the unit cell of the proposed metamaterial was designed to be a symmetric split-ring resonator with a stress-induced [...] Read more.
In this paper, a MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems)-based frequency-tunable metamaterial absorber for millimeter-wave application was demonstrated. To achieve the resonant-frequency tunability of the absorber, the unit cell of the proposed metamaterial was designed to be a symmetric split-ring resonator with a stress-induced MEMS cantilever array having initial out-of-plane deflections, and the cantilevers were electrostatically actuated to generate a capacitance change. The dimensional parameters of the absorber were determined via impedance matching using a full electromagnetic simulation. The designed absorber was fabricated on a glass wafer with surface micromachining processes using a photoresist sacrificial layer and the oxygen-plasma-ashing process to release the cantilevers. The performance of the fabricated absorber was experimentally validated using a waveguide measurement setup. The absorption frequency shifted down according to the applied DC (direct current) bias voltage from 28 GHz in the initial off state to 25.5 GHz in the pull-down state with the applied voltage of 15 V. The measured reflection coefficients at those frequencies were −5.68 dB and −33.60 dB, corresponding to the peak absorptivity rates of 72.9 and 99.9%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Fabrication, Testing of MEMS/NEMS)
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Article
Integrated Amplitude and Phase Monitor for Micro-Actuators
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081360 - 20 Aug 2022
Viewed by 841
Abstract
Micro-actuators driven on resonance maximize reach and speed; however, due to their sensitivity to environmental factors (e.g., temperature and air pressure), the amplitude and phase response must be monitored to achieve an accurate actuator position. We introduce an MEMS (microelectromechanical system) amplitude and [...] Read more.
Micro-actuators driven on resonance maximize reach and speed; however, due to their sensitivity to environmental factors (e.g., temperature and air pressure), the amplitude and phase response must be monitored to achieve an accurate actuator position. We introduce an MEMS (microelectromechanical system) amplitude and phase monitor (MAPM) with a signal-to-noise ratio of 51 dB and 11.0 kHz bandwidth, capable of simultaneously driving and sensing the movement of 1D and 2D electrostatically driven micro-actuators without modifying the chip or its packaging. The operational principle is to electromechanically modulate the amplitude of a high-frequency signal with the changing capacitance of the micro-actuator. MAPM operation is characterized and verified by simultaneously measuring the amplitude and phase frequency response of commercial micromirrors. We demonstrate that the MAPM circuitry is insensitive to complex relationships between capacitance and position of the MEMS actuators, and it is capable of giving real-time read-out of the micromirror motion. Our measurements also reveal and quantify observations of phase drift and crosstalk in 2D resonant operation. Measurements of phase changes over time under normal operation also verify the need for phase monitoring. The open-loop, high-sensitivity position sensor enables detailed characterization of dynamic micro-actuator behavior, leading to new insights and new types of operation, including improved control of nonlinear motion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical MEMS, Volume III)
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Article
Wide-Angle Mini-Light-Emitting Diodes without Optical Lens for an Ultrathin Flexible Light Source
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1326; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081326 - 16 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 768
Abstract
This report outlines a proposed method of packaging wide-angle (WA) mini-light-emitting diode (mini-LED) devices without optical lenses to create a highly efficient, ultrathin, flexible planar backlight for portable quantum dot light-emitting diode (QLED) displays. Since the luminous intensity curve for mini-LEDs generally recommends [...] Read more.
This report outlines a proposed method of packaging wide-angle (WA) mini-light-emitting diode (mini-LED) devices without optical lenses to create a highly efficient, ultrathin, flexible planar backlight for portable quantum dot light-emitting diode (QLED) displays. Since the luminous intensity curve for mini-LEDs generally recommends a beam angle of 120°, numerous LEDs are necessary to achieve a uniform surface light source for a QLED backlight. The light-guide layer and diffusion layer were packaged together on a chip surface to create WA mini-LEDs with a viewing angle of 180°. These chips were then combined with a quantum dot (QD) film and an optical film to create a high-efficiency, ultrathin, flexible planar light source with excellent color purity that can be used as a QLED display backlight. A 6 in (14.4 cm) light source was used as an experimental sample. When 1.44 W was supplied to the sample, the 3200-piece WA mini-LED with a flexible planar QLED display had a beam angle of 180° on the luminous intensity curve, a planar backlight thickness of 0.98 mm, a luminance of 10,322 nits, and a luminance uniformity of 92%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies in Electronic Packaging)
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Article
Oil Displacement in Calcite-Coated Microfluidic Chips via Waterflooding at Elevated Temperatures and Long Times
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1316; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081316 - 14 Aug 2022
Viewed by 824
Abstract
In microfluidic studies of improved oil recovery, mostly pore networks with uniform depth and surface chemistry are used. To better mimic the multiple porosity length scales and surface heterogeneity of carbonate reservoirs, we coated a 2.5D glass microchannel with calcite particles. After aging [...] Read more.
In microfluidic studies of improved oil recovery, mostly pore networks with uniform depth and surface chemistry are used. To better mimic the multiple porosity length scales and surface heterogeneity of carbonate reservoirs, we coated a 2.5D glass microchannel with calcite particles. After aging with formation water and crude oil (CRO), high-salinity Water (HSW) was flooded at varying temperatures and durations. Time-resolved microscopy revealed the CRO displacements. Precise quantification of residual oil presented some challenges due to calcite-induced optical heterogeneity and brine–oil coexistence at (sub)micron length scales. Both issues were addressed using pixel-wise intensity calibration. During waterflooding, most of the ultimately produced oil gets liberated within the first pore volume (similar to glass micromodels). Increasing temperature from 22 °C to 60 °C and 90 °C produced some more oil. Waterflooding initiated directly at 90 °C produced significantly more oil than at 22 °C. Continuing HSW exposure at 90 °C for 8 days does not release additional oil; although, a spectacular growth of aqueous droplets is observed. The effect of calcite particles on CRO retention is weak on flat surfaces, where the coverage is ~20%. The calcite-rich pore edges retain significantly more oil suggesting that, in our micromodel wall roughness is a stronger determinant for oil retention than surface chemistry. Full article
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Article
A Miniature Soft Sensor with Origami-Inspired Self-Folding Parallel Mechanism
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1188; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081188 - 28 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1128
Abstract
Miniature soft sensors are crucial for the perception of soft robots. Although centimeter-scale sensors have been well developed, very few works addressed millimeter-scale, three-dimensional-shaped soft sensors capable of measuring multi-axis forces. In this work, we developed a millimeter-scale (overall size of 6 mm [...] Read more.
Miniature soft sensors are crucial for the perception of soft robots. Although centimeter-scale sensors have been well developed, very few works addressed millimeter-scale, three-dimensional-shaped soft sensors capable of measuring multi-axis forces. In this work, we developed a millimeter-scale (overall size of 6 mm × 11 mm × 11 mm) soft sensor based on liquid metal printing technology and self-folding origami parallel mechanism. The origami design of the sensor enables the soft sensor to be manufactured within the plane and then fold into a three-dimensional shape. Furthermore, the parallel mechanism allows the sensor to rotate along two orthogonal axes. We showed that the soft sensor can be self-folded (took 17 s) using a shape-memory polymer and magnets. The results also showed that the sensor prototype can reach a deformation of up to 20 mm at the tip. The sensor can realize a measurement of external loads in six directions. We also showed that the soft sensor enables underwater sensing with a minimum sensitivity of 20 mm/s water flow. This work may provide a new manufacturing method and insight into future millimeter-scale soft sensors for bio-inspired robots. Full article
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Article
Study on Detection of a Small Magnetic Particle Using Thin Film Magneto-Impedance Sensor with Subjecting to Strong Normal Field
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081199 - 28 Jul 2022
Viewed by 568
Abstract
This paper deals with the detection of small magnetization using a thin film magneto-impedance sensor with subjecting to strong normal field. The sensor was made by soft magnetic amorphous thin-film with uniaxial magnetic anisotropy in the width direction of the element. It was [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the detection of small magnetization using a thin film magneto-impedance sensor with subjecting to strong normal field. The sensor was made by soft magnetic amorphous thin-film with uniaxial magnetic anisotropy in the width direction of the element. It was reported that the sensor has very high sensitivity, such as pico-tesla order, when it is driven by hundreds of MHz. In this paper, a sensitive measurement method aiming for detection of a small particle or a cluster of nano-particles, having low-remanence, is proposed. The point is the application of strong normal field in the measurement area including sensor element and particle. The normal strong field is applied in the normal direction of the sensor plane in the value almost hundreds of mT. Instead of such strong normal field, the sensor keeps high sensitivity, because of the demagnetizing force in the thickness direction. A theoretical estimation for clarifying an efficiency of the method, experimental results of sensor property and sensitivity with subjecting to the normal field, and also a confirmation of detection of a small particle using the proposed method is reported. As a special mention, detection fundamentals when a applied surface normal field has a distribution and also a particle would run through in the vicinity of sensor is discussed. Full article
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Article
Miniature Mobile Robot Using Only One Tilted Vibration Motor
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1184; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081184 - 27 Jul 2022
Viewed by 883
Abstract
In miniature mobile robots, reducing the number of actuators can effectively reduce the size and weight of the robot. However, it is challenging to design a robot with as few actuators as possible without losing good motion performance. This work presented a simple-structured [...] Read more.
In miniature mobile robots, reducing the number of actuators can effectively reduce the size and weight of the robot. However, it is challenging to design a robot with as few actuators as possible without losing good motion performance. This work presented a simple-structured low-cost miniature mobile robot. It is driven by only a single tilted motor and yet is fully capable of being controlled to move forward and turn left or right on the ground. Based on the stick–slip mechanism, the robot’s motion is achieved by interplaying between the centrifugal force generated by the vibration motor tilted on the robot and the friction force of the robot. The robot’s speed can be controlled by regulating the magnitude and the period of the applied voltage. Finally, the robot can translate and rotate on the ground and follow various arbitrary paths. The prototype weighs only 11.15 g, costs $6.35, and is 20 mm in diameter and 25 mm in height. The proposed system is experimentally verified and demonstrates the controllability of the robot by the movement along a straight line, a circle, and more arbitrary paths. Full article
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Article
Towards Robust Thermal MEMS: Demonstration of a Novel Approach for Solid Thermal Isolation by Substrate-Level Integrated Porous Microstructures
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081178 - 26 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 743
Abstract
Most current thermal MEMS use fragile structures such as thin-film membranes or microcantilevers for thermal isolation. To increase the robustness of these devices, solid thermal insulators that are compatible with MEMS cleanroom processing are needed. This work introduces a novel approach for microscale [...] Read more.
Most current thermal MEMS use fragile structures such as thin-film membranes or microcantilevers for thermal isolation. To increase the robustness of these devices, solid thermal insulators that are compatible with MEMS cleanroom processing are needed. This work introduces a novel approach for microscale thermal isolation using porous microstructures created with the recently developed PowderMEMS wafer-level process. MEMS devices consisting of heaters on a thin-film membrane were modified with porous microstructures made from three different materials. A thermal model for the estimation of the resulting thermal conductivity was developed, and measurements for porous structures in ambient air and under vacuum were performed. The PowderMEMS process was successfully used to create microscale thermal insulators in silicon cavities at the wafer level. Measurements indicate thermal conductivities of close to 0.1 W/mK in ambient air and close to 0.04 W/mK for porous structures under vacuum for the best-performing material. The obtained thermal conductivities are lower than those reported for both glass and porous silicon, making PowderMEMS a very interesting alternative for solid microscale thermal isolation. Full article
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Article
THz Filters Made by Laser Ablation of Stainless Steel and Kapton Film
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1170; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081170 - 25 Jul 2022
Viewed by 869
Abstract
THz band-pass filters were fabricated by femtosecond-laser ablation of 25-μm-thick micro-foils of stainless steel and Kapton film, which were subsequently metal coated with a ∼70 nm film, closely matching the skin depth at the used THz spectral window. Their spectral performance [...] Read more.
THz band-pass filters were fabricated by femtosecond-laser ablation of 25-μm-thick micro-foils of stainless steel and Kapton film, which were subsequently metal coated with a ∼70 nm film, closely matching the skin depth at the used THz spectral window. Their spectral performance was tested in transmission and reflection modes at the Australian Synchrotron’s THz beamline. A 25-μm-thick Kapton film performed as a Fabry–Pérot etalon with a free spectral range (FSR) of 119 cm1, high finesse Fc17, and was tuneable over ∼10μm (at ∼5 THz band) with β=30 tilt. The structure of the THz beam focal region as extracted by the first mirror (slit) showed a complex dependence of polarisation, wavelength and position across the beam. This is important for polarisation-sensitive measurements (in both transmission and reflection) and requires normalisation at each orientation of linear polarisation. Full article
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Article
Design of Metal-Based Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPSs) with Effective Liquid Repellency Achieved with a Femtosecond Laser
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081160 - 22 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 691
Abstract
Slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPSs) have become an effective method to provide materials with sliding performance and, thus, achieve liquid repellency, through the process of infusing lubricants into the microstructure of the surface. However, the construction of microstructures on high-strength metals is still [...] Read more.
Slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPSs) have become an effective method to provide materials with sliding performance and, thus, achieve liquid repellency, through the process of infusing lubricants into the microstructure of the surface. However, the construction of microstructures on high-strength metals is still a significant challenge. Herein, we used a femtosecond laser with a temporally shaped Bessel beam to process NiTi alloy, and created uniform porous structures with a microhole diameter of around 4 µm, in order to store and lock lubricant. In addition, as the lubricant is an important factor that can influence the sliding properties, five different lubricants were selected to prepare the SLIPSs, and were further compared in terms of their sliding behavior. The temperature cycle test and the hydraulic pressure test were implemented to characterize the durability of the samples, and different liquids were used to investigate the possible failure under complex fluid conditions. In general, the prepared SLIPSs exhibited superior liquid repellency. We believe that, in combination with a femtosecond laser, slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces are promising for applications in a wide range of areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Bionic Fabrication)
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Communication
Enzymatic and Cellular Degradation of Carbon-Based Biconcave Nanodisks
Micromachines 2022, 13(7), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071144 - 19 Jul 2022
Viewed by 585
Abstract
The assessment of the biodegradability of nanomaterials is of pragmatic importance for understanding the interactions between nanomaterials and biological systems and for the determination of ultimate fate of these materials as well as their potential use. We recently developed carbon-based biconcave nanodisks (CBBNs) [...] Read more.
The assessment of the biodegradability of nanomaterials is of pragmatic importance for understanding the interactions between nanomaterials and biological systems and for the determination of ultimate fate of these materials as well as their potential use. We recently developed carbon-based biconcave nanodisks (CBBNs) serving as a versatile nanocarrier for enhanced accumulation in tumors and combined photothermal-chemotherapy. Here, we investigate both the enzymatic and cellular degradation of CBBNs by monitoring their cellular response with electron microscopy, near-infrared absorbance spectroscopy, and cell viability and oxidative stress assessments. Our results show that CBBNs underwent significant degradation in solutions catalyzed by horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), or in the presence of macrophage cells. The ability of CBBNs to be degraded in biological systems provides suitability for their future biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticles in Biomedical Sciences)
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Article
Toward Higher Integration Density in Femtosecond-Laser-Written Programmable Photonic Circuits
Micromachines 2022, 13(7), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071145 - 19 Jul 2022
Viewed by 689
Abstract
Programmability in femtosecond-laser-written integrated circuits is commonly achieved with the implementation of thermal phase shifters. Recent work has shown how such phase shifters display significantly reduced power dissipation and thermal crosstalk with the implementation of thermal isolation structures. However, the aforementioned phase shifter [...] Read more.
Programmability in femtosecond-laser-written integrated circuits is commonly achieved with the implementation of thermal phase shifters. Recent work has shown how such phase shifters display significantly reduced power dissipation and thermal crosstalk with the implementation of thermal isolation structures. However, the aforementioned phase shifter technology is based on a single gold film, which poses severe limitations on integration density and circuit complexity due to intrinsic geometrical constraints. To increase the compactness, we propose two improvements to this technology. Firstly, we fabricated thermal phase shifters with a photolithography process based on two different metal films, namely (1) chromium for microheaters and (2) copper for contact pads and interconnections. Secondly, we developed a novel curved isolation trench design that, along with a state-of-the-art curvature radius, allows for a significant reduction in the optical length of integrated circuits. As a result, curved Cr-Cu phase shifters provide a compact footprint with low parasitic series resistance and no significant increase in power dissipation (∼38 mW) and thermal crosstalk (∼20%). These results pave the way toward the fabrication of femtosecond-laser-written photonic circuits with a steep increase in terms of layout complexity. Full article
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Article
Lasered Graphene Microheaters Modified with Phase-Change Composites: New Approach to Smart Patch Drug Delivery
Micromachines 2022, 13(7), 1132; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071132 - 18 Jul 2022
Viewed by 997
Abstract
The combination of paraffin wax and O,O′-bis(2-aminopropyl) polypropylene glycol–block–polyethylene glycol–block–polypropylene glycol was used as a phase-change material (PCM) for the controlled delivery of curcumin. The PCM was combined with a graphene-based heater derived from the laser [...] Read more.
The combination of paraffin wax and O,O′-bis(2-aminopropyl) polypropylene glycol–block–polyethylene glycol–block–polypropylene glycol was used as a phase-change material (PCM) for the controlled delivery of curcumin. The PCM was combined with a graphene-based heater derived from the laser scribing of polyimide film. This assembly provides a new approach to a smart patch through which release can be electronically controlled, allowing repetitive dosing. Rather than relying on passive diffusion, delivery is induced and terminated through the controlled heating of the PCM with transfer only occurring when the PCM transitions from solid to liquid. The material properties of the device and release characteristics of the strategy under repetitive dosing are critically assessed. The delivery yield of curcumin was found to be 3.5 µg (4.5 µg/cm2) per 3 min thermal cycle. Full article
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Article
A Continuous Microfluidic Concentrator for High-Sensitivity Detection of Bacteria in Water Sources
Micromachines 2022, 13(7), 1093; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071093 - 10 Jul 2022
Viewed by 689
Abstract
Water contamination is a critical issue that threatens global public health. To enable the rapid and precise monitoring of pathogen contamination in drinking water, a concentration technique for bacterial cells is required to address the limitations of current detection methods, including the culture [...] Read more.
Water contamination is a critical issue that threatens global public health. To enable the rapid and precise monitoring of pathogen contamination in drinking water, a concentration technique for bacterial cells is required to address the limitations of current detection methods, including the culture method and polymerase chain reaction. Here we present a viscoelastic microfluidic device for the continuous concentration of bacterial cells. To validate the device performance for cell concentration, the flow characteristics of 2-μm particles were estimated in viscoelastic fluids at different concentrations and flow rates. Based on the particle flow distributions, the flow rate factor, which is defined as the ratio of the inlet flow rate to the outlet flow rate at the center outlet, was optimized to achieve highly concentrated bacterial cells by removal of the additional suspending medium. The flow characteristics of 0.5-, 0.7-, and 1.0-μm-diameter particles were evaluated to consider the effect of a wide spectrum of bacterial size distribution. Finally, the concentration factor of bacterial cells, Staphylococcus aureus, suspended in a 2000-ppm polyethylene oxide solution was found to be 20.6-fold at a flow rate of 20 μL/min and a flow rate factor of 40. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nanofluidics for Cell and Particle Manipulation)
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Article
Strain Rate Dependence of Compressive Mechanical Properties of Polyamide and Its Composite Fabricated Using Selective Laser Sintering under Saturated-Water Conditions
Micromachines 2022, 13(7), 1041; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071041 - 30 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 489
Abstract
In this work, polyamide 12 (PA12) and carbon fiber reinforced polyamide 12 (CF/PA12) composites were fabricated using selective laser sintering (SLS), and the coupling effects of the strain rate and hygroscopicity on the compressive mechanical properties were investigated. The results showed that the [...] Read more.
In this work, polyamide 12 (PA12) and carbon fiber reinforced polyamide 12 (CF/PA12) composites were fabricated using selective laser sintering (SLS), and the coupling effects of the strain rate and hygroscopicity on the compressive mechanical properties were investigated. The results showed that the CF/PA12 had a shorter saturation time and lower saturated water absorption under the same conditions, indicating that the SLS of CF/PA12 had lower hydrophilia and higher water resistance when compared to the SLS of PA12. It was observed that as the strain rate increased, and the ultimate compression strength and the yield strength monotonically increased with almost the same slope, indicating that the strain rate had the same positive correlation with the compressive strength of the SLS of PA12 and CF/PA12. The water immersion results showed a significant reduction of 15% in the yield strength of SLS of PA12, but not very significant in CF/PA12. This indicated that the carbon fiber was favorable for maintaining the mechanical properties of polyamide 12 after absorbing water. The findings in this work provide a basic knowledge of the mechanical properties of SLS polyamide under different loading and saturated-water conditions and thus is helpful to widen the application of SLS products in harsh environments. Full article
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Article
A Fiber-Based SPR Aptasensor for the In Vitro Detection of Inflammation Biomarkers
Micromachines 2022, 13(7), 1036; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071036 - 29 Jun 2022
Viewed by 841
Abstract
It is widely accepted that the abnormal concentrations of different inflammation biomarkers can be used for the early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Currently, many reported strategies, which require extra report tags or bulky detection equipment, are not portable enough for onsite inflammation [...] Read more.
It is widely accepted that the abnormal concentrations of different inflammation biomarkers can be used for the early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Currently, many reported strategies, which require extra report tags or bulky detection equipment, are not portable enough for onsite inflammation biomarker detection. In this work, a fiber-based surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor decorated with DNA aptamers, which were specific to two typical inflammation biomarkers, C-reactive protein (CRP) and cardiac troponin I (cTn-I), was developed. By optimizing the surface concentration of the DNA aptamer, the proposed sensor could achieve a limit of detection (LOD) of 1.7 nM (0.204 μg/mL) and 2.5 nM (57.5 ng/mL) to CRP and cTn-I, respectively. Additionally, this biosensor could also be used to detect other biomarkers by immobilizing corresponding specific DNA aptamers. Integrated with a miniaturized spectral analysis device, the proposed sensor could be applied for constructing a portable instrument to provide the point of care testing (POCT) for CVD patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physics in Micro/Nano Devices: From Fundamental to Application)
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Article
From Microtiter Plates to Droplets—There and Back Again
Micromachines 2022, 13(7), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13071022 - 28 Jun 2022
Viewed by 868
Abstract
Droplet-based microfluidic screening techniques can benefit from interfacing established microtiter plate-based screening and sample management workflows. Interfacing tools are required both for loading preconfigured microtiter-plate (MTP)-based sample collections into droplets and for dispensing the used droplets samples back into MTPs for subsequent storage [...] Read more.
Droplet-based microfluidic screening techniques can benefit from interfacing established microtiter plate-based screening and sample management workflows. Interfacing tools are required both for loading preconfigured microtiter-plate (MTP)-based sample collections into droplets and for dispensing the used droplets samples back into MTPs for subsequent storage or further processing. Here, we present a collection of Digital Microfluidic Pipetting Tips (DMPTs) with integrated facilities for droplet generation and manipulation together with a robotic system for its operation. This combination serves as a bidirectional sampling interface for sample transfer from wells into droplets (w2d) and vice versa droplets into wells (d2w). The DMPT were designed to fit into 96-deep-well MTPs and prepared from glass by means of microsystems technology. The aspirated samples are converted into the channel-confined droplets’ sequences separated by an immiscible carrier medium. To comply with the demands of dose-response assays, up to three additional assay compound solutions can be added to the sample droplets. To enable different procedural assay protocols, four different DMPT variants were made. In this way, droplet series with gradually changing composition can be generated for, e.g., 2D screening purposes. The developed DMPT and their common fluidic connector are described here. To handle the opposite transfer d2w, a robotic transfer system was set up and is described briefly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet-Based Microfluidic Devices)
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