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ELECTROKINETIC INSTABILITY MICROMIXER (EKIM) for molecular diffusion


Stanford Reference:

00-009


Abstract


Stanford researchers developed a novel electrokinetic instability micromixer (EKIM) and method for rapid mixing of small volume liquid solutions for microfluidic bioanalytical devices and systems. The mixing mechanism takes advantage of fluctuating electric fields to effect rapid mixing efficiently and effectively with easy integration and low fabrication cost, thereby enabling Lab-on-a-Chip bioanalytical microfluidic devices and systems. Unlike other active mixers, the EKIM contains no moving parts or actuators and is relatively compact. The design is easily integrated into existing single-layer microfluidic chips with little or no additional fabrication requirements other than simple mask layout changes. The mixer can be actuated via end-channel electrodes (e.g., wires or conductive lines immersed into end-channel buffer reservoirs). Although this micromixer is a viable solution for any systems in which molecular species are mixed, it is ideally suitable for techniques involving relatively low diffusivity molecules such as immunoassays and hybridization analyses that require rapid and homogeneous mixing of macromolecular solutions such as DNA or globular proteins. Example applications of this technology include speeding up surface hybridization reactions (as in DNA or protein arrays) and bulk liquid reactions in biochemical assays.

Stage of Research:
Experiments conducted with this invention have shown that an instability in the flow of the solution is generated within a few seconds after the application of alternating electric fields with certain frequencies and field intensities. The inventors have observed velocity components transverse to the applied electric field direction that are non-existent under simple laminar flow conditions. These velocity components effectively stir the solution, thereby causing a significant reduction in the diffusion length and time necessary for molecular diffusion.


Applications


  • Active micromixing in microfluidic devices
  • Biochemical and bioanalytical systems
  • Techniques such as immunoassays and hybridization analyses

Advantages


  • Rapid mixing of macromolecular solutions
  • Rapid mixing between molecules in solution and a wall sensor
  • 100+ times faster than diffusion alone
  • Compact size (10 to 1,000 micron characteristic dimensions)
  • No moving parts
  • Low fabrication cost
  • Activation can be performed with end-channel (or end-chamber) coupling of electrodes. That is, electrodes need not be embedded within channels or chambers
  • Easy integration into existing microfluidic chip – requires only simple mask layout change

Publications



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Patent Status



Date Released

 7/30/2013
 

Licensing Contact


Linda Chao, Senior Associate
(650) 725-9408 (Direct)
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Related Keywords


genomics   diagnostic: biochip   microarray software   mixer   molecular assay   healthcare: biochip   00-009   
 

   

  

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