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Proceedings Paper

Reconfigurable microfluidic chip based on a light-sensitive hydrogel
Author(s): Khaled Al-Aribe; George K. Knopf; Amarjeet S. Bassi
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Paper Abstract

Glass is often used as a substrate material for developing microfluidic chips because it is hydrophilic (attracts and holds moisture), chemically inert, stable over time, optically clear, non-porous, and can be fabricated at low cost. However, the size and geometry of the various components, flow channels and fluid reservoirs are all fixed on the substrate material at the time of microfabrication. Recent advances on the development of a light driven microactuator for actively changing the size and geometry of micro features, based on a photo-responsive hydrogel, are described in this paper. Each discrete microactuator in the platform structure is a bi-layered hydrogel that exploits the ionic nature of the pH sensitive polymer blend of polyethylenimine (PEI) and poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), and the proton pumping ability of the retinal protein bacteriorhodopsin (bR). When irradiated by a light source with a peak response of 568 nm the bR molecules in the (bR-PVA) layer undergo a complex photocycle that causes protons to be pumped into the adjoining pH sensitive (PEI-PVA) layer. The diffusion of similarly charged ions through the second actuating layer generates electrostatic repulsive and attractive forces which alter the osmotic pressure within the cross-linked polymer network. Depending upon the type of electrostatic forces generated, the pH sensitive hydrogel layer will swell or, alternatively, collapse. The fabrication of the (bR-PVA)-(PEI-PVA) hydrogel microactuator is described and the experimental results from preliminary tests are presented. The application of the light sensitive hydrogels to developing a reconfigurable microchip platform is briefly discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 October 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6374, Optomechatronic Actuators, Manipulation, and Systems Control, 63740E (19 October 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.686211
Show Author Affiliations
Khaled Al-Aribe, The Univ. of Western Ontario (Canada)
George K. Knopf, The Univ. of Western Ontario (Canada)
Amarjeet S. Bassi, The Univ. of Western Ontario (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6374:
Optomechatronic Actuators, Manipulation, and Systems Control
Farrokh Janabi-Sharifi; Yukitoshi Otani, Editor(s)

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