Microfluidic T-Form Mixer Utilizing Switching Electroosmotic Flow

This paper presents a microfluidic T-form mixer utilizing alternatively switching electroosmotic flow. The microfluidic device is fabricated on low-cost glass slides using a simple and reliable fabrication process. A switching DC field is used to generate an electroosmotic force which simultaneously drives and mixes the fluid samples. The proposed design eliminates the requirements for moving parts within the microfluidic device and delicate external control systems. Two operation modes, namely, a conventional switching mode and a novel pinched switching mode, are presented. Computer simulation is employed to predict the mixing performance attainable in both operation modes. The simulation results are then compared to those obtained experimentally. It is shown that a mixing performance as high as 97% can be achieved within a mixing distance of 1 mm downstream from the T-junction when a 60 V/cm driving voltage and a 2-Hz switching frequency are applied in the pinched switching operation mode. This study demonstrates how the driving voltage and switching frequency can be optimized to yield an enhanced mixing performance. The novel methods presented in this study provide a simple solution to mixing problems in the micro-total-analysis-systems field.