To generate flow in microchannels, various actuation schemes such as electrokinetic, pressure-driven, and capillary-driven flow have been suggested. Capillary-driven flow is widely used in plastic disposable diagnostic platforms due to its simplicity and because it requires no external power. However, plastics such as poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), generally used in microfluidics, are hydrophobic, which inhibits capillary force generation and requires surface enhancement that deteriorates with age. It is shown that the microchannels made of PMMA lose their acquired hydrophilicity by oxygen plasma treatment in long-term storage and tend to generate slow capillary flow exhibiting large variability. To promote consistency and drive flow in the microchannel, nanointerstices (NI) are introduced at the side wall of the microchannel, which results in capillary flow that is less dependent on surface characteristics. The results show that NI flow generation can be a useful alternative technique to create long-term predictable flow in commercialized products with microchannels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Engineering (miscellaneous)