High-throughput microcapillary pump with efficient integrated low aspect ratio micropillars

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Prediction and reduction of pressure drop and resistance flow in micropillar arrays are important for the design of microfluidic circuits used in different lab-on-a-chip and biomedical applications. In this work, a diamond microchannel-integrated micropillar pump (dMIMP) with a resistance flow 35.5 % lower than a circular-based micropillar pump (cMIMP) has been developed via the optimization of the fluid dynamic behavior of different pillar shapes in a low aspect ratio (H/D ranged from 0.06 to 0.2) integrated pillar microchannel. The effect of different geometrical parameters (such as pillar shape and its distribution) has been considered to minimize the microchannel resistance flow. Six-micrometer-depth polidimetilsiloxane (PDMS) channels have been fabricated using a modified soft lithography process, which prevents the PDMS deformation under high-pressure operation. Flow through the fabricated samples has been numerically solved and experimentally measured, with an agreement higher than 90 %. The results have been used to validate the derived analytical formulation to determine the flow resistance in this type of channels, a fast approach to obtain the resistance flow in the design stage of microdevices. The analysis of the results indicates that, although porosity can be a determinant parameter to predict the resistance flow of MIMP, other geometrical parameters such as side distance between pillars and pillar shape play a major role in this scenario. Finally, a high-throughput optimized diamond MIMP pump has been designed, tested and validated as a capillary pump, showing that it can provide a flow rate 73 % higher than a circular MIMP pump.

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Correspondence to J. Casals-Terré.

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Madadi, H., Casals-Terré, J., Castilla-López, R. et al. High-throughput microcapillary pump with efficient integrated low aspect ratio micropillars. Microfluid Nanofluid 17, 115–130 (2014).

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  • Microchannel-integrated micropillars (MIMP)
  • Microcapillar pump
  • Resistance flow
  • Pressure drop