[Biomicrofluidics] Design and characterization of hydrogel-based microfluidic devices with biomimeti
Hydrogel could serve as a matrix material of new classes of solar cells and photoreactors with embedded microfluidic networks. These devices mimic the structure and function of plant leaves, which are a natural soft matter based microfluidic system. These unusual microfluidic-hydrogel devices with fluid-penetrable medium operate on the basis of convective-diffusive mechanism, where the liquid is transported between the non-connected channels via molecular permeation through the hydrogel. We define three key designs of such hydrogel devices, having linear, T-shaped, and branched channels and report results of numerical simulation of the process of their infusion with solute carried by the incoming fluid. The computational procedure takes into account both pressure-driven convection and concentration gradient-driven diffusion in the permeable gel matrix. We define the criteria for evaluation of the fluid infusion rate, uniformity, solute loss by outflow and overall performance. The T-shaped channel network was identified as the most efficient one and was improved further by investigating the effect of the channel-end secondary branches. Our parallel experimental data on the pattern of solute infusions are in excellent agreement with the simulation. These network designs can be applied to a broad range of novel microfluidic materials and soft matter devices with distributed microchannel networks.
Hyung-Jun Koo1,a) and Orlin D. Velev2,a) 1Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul 139-743, South Korea 2Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA a)Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed. Electronic addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel.: +82-2-970-6611, Fax: +82-2-977-8317 and email@example.com, Tel: +1-919-513-4318, Fax: +1-919-515-3465.
Biomicrofluidics 11, 024104 (2017); doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4978617