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Pneumatic pumping in centrifugal microfluidic platforms

  • Author(s): Gorkin, Robert
  • Clime, Liviu
  • Madou, Marc
  • Kido, Horacio
  • et al.
Abstract

Centrifugal microfluidics has emerged as a unique approach to the development of integrated total analysis systems for medical diagnostics. However, despite its many advantages, the platform has a size limitation due to the centripetal pumping mechanism in which fluids can only be moved from the center of the disc to the rim. This limits the footprint of the microfluidic network to one radius of the disc, and this in turn limits the amount of space available to embed complex assays. In order to overcome this space limitation problem, we are developing new techniques to pump fluids back toward the center of the disc as to allow greater path lengths for the fluidic network. This study presents a novel pumping mechanism for centrifugal microfluidics utilizing a combination of centrifugation and pneumatic compression. Pneumatic energy is stored during high-speed centrifugation with sample fluids trapping then compressing air in specially designed chambers. The accumulated pneumatic energy is released by spinning down, which expands the trapped air and thus pumps liquids back toward the center of the CD. This newly developed method overcomes current limitations of centripetal pumping avoiding external manipulation or surface treatments. In this article, we explore the design of appropriate chambers to induce pneumatic pumping and analytically describe the mechanics behind the pumping action. For proof of principle, we have applied pneumatic pumping to siphon priming.

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