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Directionally controlled open channel microfluidics

Abstract : Free-surface microscale flows have been attracting increasing attention from the research community in recent times, as attributable to their diverse fields of applications ranging from fluid mixing and particle manipulation to biochemical processing on a chip. Traditionally, electrically driven processes governing free surface microfluidics are mostly effective in manipulating fluids having characteristically low values of the electrical conductivity (lower than 0.085 S/m). Biological and biochemical processes, on the other hand, typically aim to manipulate fluids having higher electrical conductivities (>0.1 S/m). To circumvent the inherent limitation of traditional electrokinetic processes in manipulating highly conductive fluids in free surface flows, here we experimentally develop a novel on-chip methodology for the same by exploiting the interaction between an alternating electric current and an induced thermal field. We show that the consequent local gradients in physical properties as well as interfacial tension can be tuned to direct the flow toward a specific location on the interface. The present experimental design opens up a new realm of on-chip process control without necessitating the creation of a geometric confinement. We envisage that this will also open up research avenues on open-channel microfluidics, an area that has vastly remained unexplored. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
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Golak Kunti, Jayabrata Dhar, Anandaroop Bhattacharya, Suman Chakraborty. Directionally controlled open channel microfluidics. Physics of Fluids, American Institute of Physics, 2019, 31 (9), pp.092003. ⟨10.1063/1.5118728⟩. ⟨insu-02474428⟩

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