A Passive Micro-Mixer for Use With Micro- Fluidic Sensors in Medical, Pharmaceutical and Chemical Applications

Technology #31571

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Top view depiction of an exemplary micromixing apparatus, according to an embodiment of the invention
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Researchers
Hyoung Cho, Ph.D.
Ranganathan Kumar, Ph.D.
Ehsan Yakhshi Tafti
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Andrea Adkins
Assistant Director 407.823.0138
Patent Protection

Microfluidic mixer having channel width variation for enhanced fluid mixing

US Patent 8,430,558 B1

Microfluidic mixing using channel width variation for enhanced fluid mixing

US Patent 9,259,693
Publications
A Split and Recombination Micromixer Fabricated in a PDMS Three-Dimensional Structure
Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 2006, 16, 1067

The invention provides the means, materials and methods for creating an in-line passive micro-mixer to be combined with a micro-fluidic sensor. This device makes use of variations in side-wall shapes to alter the flow rates of miscible liquids. These side-wall shapes are comprised of polymer resins cast from a silicon wafer mold.

The field of micro-fluidics is growing rapidly, with lucrative commercial applications in pharmaceuticals, medical diagnostics and chemistry. A primary manifestation of micro-fluidics is miniaturized devices such as lab-on-a-chip (LOC) sensors. These robust sensors detect a variety of parameters in a minimal sample volume. When multiple samples are combined, mixing in a micro-scale is often crucial to the effective functioning of micro-fluidic devices. Quick, efficient mixing is especially important for the operation of LOC bio-analytical systems. The ideal solution to this problem would be mixing of the solutions/analytes within the micro-fluidic sensor. Currently, two main technologies exist for solving this problem: active mixers and passive mixers. The active micro-mixer requires external power sources and control circuitry which increase both costs and complexity of the device. Whereas, the passive micro-mixers have very complicated shapes that are hard to fabricate and require costly molds that are difficult to manufacture.

Technical Details

UCF scientists have developed a micro-mixer that fits within a micro-fluidic (lab-on-a-chip) sensor. This device is a passive micro-mixer (requires no power source or external energy) that is in-line with the flow of samples into and out of the micro-fluidic sensor. The device mixes solutions/analytes by changing the flow rates within the sensor through variations in the shape of the side-walls. The inexpensive manufacture of these devices is done with photolithography techniques on silicon wafers to create a mold. The actual micro-mixer itself is composed of inert polymer resins. This micro-mixer is easily combined with micro-fluidic sensors to create an inexpensive disposable diagnostic cartridge for detecting a variety of parameters in solution.

Benefits

  • Passive micro-mixer
  • Inexpensive, easy fabrication
  • Combines easily with micro-fluidic sensors

Applications

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Medical diagnostics
  • Combinational chemistry


Additional Technology Numbers: 32697