Microfabricated devices are finding application in a wide range of new areas. As the functions performed by a device increases, the design becomes more complicated. It then becomes essential to realize complex fluidic manipulation on the microfabricated chip device. One of the main components of a microfluidic system that is difficult to achieve is a valve; many of the current valves include a movable diaphragm and have intricate actuation and fabrication, making the integration into the microfluidic device difficult, and susceptible to failures.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed valves with improved design for use in microdevices. In particular, microfabrication techniques is used to develop phase change latched valves for microscale devices. These phase change latched valves control the movement of biological samples as microdroplets through microchannels. These elements are microfabricated from silicon and glass substrates, and may be in liquid communication via surface-tension-gradient mechanism in which discrete droplets are differentially heated and propelled through etched channels. Electronic components are fabricated on the same substrate material, which allows for the incorporation of sensors and controlling circuitry within the same device. Since all of the components are made using conventional photolithographic techniques, multi-component devices can be readily assembled into complex, integrated systems.
Applications and Advantages
- microfluidic systems
- devices can be readily assembled into-nl-complex, integrated systems
- integrated electronics within the device
- low cost- silicon microfabricated device