3D Imaging of Flow Patterns in an Internally-Pumped Microfluidic Device: Redox Magnetohydrodynamics and ElectrochemicallyGenerated Density Gradients

by Gao, Feng; Kreidermacher, Adam; Fritsch, Ingrid; Heyes, Colin D.

Redox magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) is a promising technique for developing new electrochemical-based microfluidic flow devices with unique capabilities, such as easily switching flow direction and adjusting flow speeds and flow patterns as well as avoiding bubble formation. However, a detailed description of all the forces involved and predicting flow patterns in confined geometries is lacking. In addition to redox-MHD, density gradients caused by the redox reactions also play important roles. Flow in these devices with small fluid volumes has mainly been characterized by following microbead motion by optical microscopy either by particle tracking velocimetry (PTV) or by processing the microbead images by particle image velocimetry (PIV) software. This approach has limitations in spatial resolution and dimensionality. Here we use fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) to quantitatively and accurately measure flow speeds and patterns in the similar to 5-50 mu m/s range in redox-MHD-based microfluidic devices, from which 3D flow maps are obtained with a spatial resolution down to 2 mu m. The 2 mu m spatial resolution flow speeds map revealed detailed flow profiles during redox-MHD in which the velocity increases linearly from above the electrode and reaches a plateau across the center of the cell. By combining FCS and video-microscopy (with PTV and PIV processing approaches), we are able to quantify a vertical flow of similar to 10 mu m/s above the electrodes as a result of density gradients caused by the redox reactions and follow convection flow patterns. Overall, combining FCS, PIV, and PTV analysis of redox-MHD is a powerful combination to more thoroughly characterize the underlying forces in these promising microfluidic devices.

Analytical Chemistry
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