Electrifying microfluidics - A few examples of using electric fields and forces to control microfluidic components and a few applications

Ravi Selvaganapathy, Mechanical Engineering, McMaster University


04 February 2010 at 10:30

Location: JHE 326H

Microfluidics originated, over two decades ago, from the application of microfabrication technology, originally intended to produce electronic circuits, to perform chemical and biochemical analysis at the microscale. The benefits of miniaturization were usually higher precision, faster analysis, reduced sample volume, lower-cost and possibility of parallelization. Since then, microfluidic technology has been applied not only to genomic and proteomic analysis but also is increasingly used in cell and small animal based assays, fuel cells, tunable lens, electronic cooling, combinatorial screening, protein crystallization and microscale chemical reaction systems.

Over the past decade, there has been a realization that the electrical methods of actuation and control are ideal particularly when multiple complex operations need to be performed in parallel or at high throughput, such as in systems for drug discovery. I will present some of the contributions that have come out of my laboratory towards the use of electric fields in realization of microfluidic components such as pumps, valves and light sources as well as in development of microfluidic devices for drug discovery, drug delivery and microscale droplet generation.


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