As an emerging alternative to the conventional counterpart, surface microfluidics incorporates both intrinsic resistive solid-liquid and elastic frictionless gas-liquid interfaces, leading to unique flow-pressure characteristics. Furthermore, the open-surface microfluidic platforms can be fabricated on a monolithic substrate with high wettability contrast by the previously reported one-step lithographic process of a photosensitive superhydrophobic nanocomposite material, which permits flexible fluidic operations and direct surface modifications. In the paper, we first present three-dimensional microfluidic manipulations utilizing the unconventional gas-liquid interfaces of surface microfluidics, outlined by the micropatterned wetting boundaries (also known as the triple lines). In contrast to the primary linear (resistive) nature of the conventional closed-channel microfluidics, the distinct elastic interface of surface microfluidics enables remarkable three-dimensional (deformable) and time-dependent (capacitive) operations of the flow. Specifically, spatiotemporal dependence of microflow patterns on the planar fluidic surfaces has been theoretically analyzed and experimentally characterized. Utilizing the unconventional interface-enabled flow-pressure relationship, novel surface fluidic operations, including microflow regulation and flow-controlled switching, have been demonstrated and fully investigated. Furthermore, three-dimensional surface microfluidic networks together with analog-to-digital stereo-flow activations have been established, in which miniature capillary bridges form fluidic connections between two independent surface microfluidic circuits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering