Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Droplet-based Microrheometer for Real-time Viscosity Monitoring of Blood Coagulation

Technology #6695

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Mark A Burns
Managed By
Jeremy Nelson
Senior Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-936-2095
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending

Approximately 4.5 million patients are transfused with nearly 21 million blood components each year in the U.S. alone. Studies indicate that reductions in red blood cell (RBC) deformability or the use of older blood is associated with increased risk of post-operative complications and negative outcomes. Over 12 million patients visit the emergency room every year because of chest pain, cerebrovascular disease, sepsis, and sickle cell disease. Each of these transfusion and emergency room patients could benefit from plasma and whole blood viscosity monitoring, coagulation monitoring, or RBC deformability measurements.

Microfluidic viscometer for real-time blood coagulation monitoring

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a fully automated, droplet-based microfluidic rheometer system that can monitor and analyze a variety of rheological properties of relevance to the blood coagulation process. With just a few microliters of blood, the device is able to measure whole blood viscosity, plasma viscosity, RBC deformability, and potentially coagulation.

Droplets of blood are generated in the device after the patient has provided a blood sample. The size and color of the droplets, the time of droplet generation, and the spacing between droplets are all correlated to the sample viscosity, which can be measured as a function of time. To monitor blood coagulation for an hour, a small sample volume of less than 5 µL is needed. The device is able to measure the viscosity of whole blood with a sensitivity of about 1cP. The microfluidic rheometer is much smaller in size than current bench-top devices, and is portable. This small size enables convenient patient self-testing and point-of-care use. 


  • Superior accuracy and reliability
  • Low sample consumption 
  • Portable, automated device
  • Measures absolute viscosity of biological fluids with high sensitivity 


  • Real-time blood coagulation monitoring in hospitals and remote settings
  • Blood viability checking for transfusion medicine
  • Viscosity measurement of small-volume biological samples