Capacitive Sensor and Alternating Drive Mixing for Microfluidic Applications Using Micro Diaphragm Pumps
Microfluidic systems are of paramount importance in various fields such as medicine, biology, and pharmacy. Despite the plethora of methods, accurate dosing and mixing of small doses of liquid reagents remain challenges for microfluidics. In this paper, we present a microfluidic device that uses two micro pumps and an alternating drive pattern to fill a microchannel. With a capacitive sensor system, we monitored the fluid process and controlled the micro pumps. In a first experiment, the system was set up to generate a 1:1 mixture between two fluids while using a range of fluid packet sizes from 0.25 to 2 µL and pumping frequencies from 50 to 100 Hz. In this parameter range, a dosing accuracy of 50.3 ± 0.9% was reached, validated by a gravimetric measurement. Other biased mixing ratios were tested as well and showed a deviation of 0.3 ± 0.3% from the targeted mixing ratio. In a second experiment, Trypan blue was used to study the mixing behavior of the system. Within one to two dosed packet sets, the two reagents were reliably mixed. The results are encouraging for future use of micro pumps and capacitive sensing in demanding microfluidic applications.