[Plos One] Low-cost feedback-controlled syringe pressure pumps for microfluidics applications
Microfluidics are widely used in research ranging from bioengineering and biomedical disciplines to chemistry and nanotechnology. As such, there are a large number of options for the devices used to drive and control flow through microfluidic channels. Commercially available syringe pumps are probably the most commonly used instruments for this purpose, but are relatively high-cost and have inherent limitations due to their flow profiles when they are run open-loop. Here, we present a low-cost ($110) syringe pressure pump that uses feedback control to regulate the pressure into microfluidic chips. Using an open-source microcontroller board (Arduino), we demonstrate an easily operated and programmable syringe pump that can be run using either a PID or bang-bang control method. Through feedback control of the pressure at the inlets of two microfluidic geometries, we have shown stability of our device to within ±1% of the set point using a PID control method and within ±5% of the set point using a bang-bang control method with response times of less than 1 second. This device offers a low-cost option to drive and control well-regulated pressure-driven flow through microfluidic chips.
John R. Lake, Keith C. Heyde, Warren C. Ruder Published: April 3, 2017http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175089