ABSTRACT: Three-dimensional microfluidics holds great promise for large-scale integration of versatile, digitalized, and multitasking fluidic manipulations for biological and clinical applications. Successful translation of microfluidic toolsets to these purposes faces persistent technical challenges, such as reliable system-level packaging, device assembly and alignment, and world-to-chip interface. In this paper, we extended our previously established fit-to-flow (F2F) world-to-chip interconnection scheme to a complete system-level assembly strategy that addresses the three-dimensional microfluidic integration on demand. The modular F2F assembly consists of an interfacial chip, pluggable alignment modules, and multiple monolithic layers of microfluidic channels, through which convoluted three-dimensional microfluidic networks can be easily assembled and readily sealed with the capability of reconfigurable fluid flow. The monolithic laser-micromachining process simplifies and standardizes the fabrication of single-layer pluggable polymeric modules, which can be mass-produced as the renowned Lego(®) building blocks. In addition, interlocking features are implemented between the plug-and-play microfluidic chips and the complementary alignment modules through the F2F assembly, resulting in facile and secure alignment with average misalignment of 45 μm. Importantly, the 3D multilayer microfluidic assembly has a comparable sealing performance as the conventional single-layer devices, providing an average leakage pressure of 38.47 kPa. The modular reconfigurability of the system-level reversible packaging concept has been demonstrated by re-routing microfluidic flows through interchangeable modular microchannel layers.
Project description:Integrated microfluidic systems afford extensive benefits for chemical and biological fields, yet traditional, monolithic methods of microfabrication restrict the design and assembly of truly complex systems. Here, a simple, reconfigurable and high fluid pressure modular microfluidic system is presented. The screw interconnects reversibly assemble each individual microfluidic module together. Screw connector provided leak-free fluidic communication, which could withstand fluid resistances up to 500 kPa between two interconnected microfluidic modules. A sample library of standardized components and connectors manufactured using 3D printing was developed. The capability for modular microfluidic system was demonstrated by generating sodium alginate gel microspheres. This 3D printed modular microfluidic system makes it possible to meet the needs of the end-user, and can be applied to bioassays, material synthesis, and other applications.
Project description:A method for the design, construction, and assembly of modular, polymer-based, microfluidic devices using simple micro-assembly technology was demonstrated to build an integrated fluidic system consisting of vertically stacked modules for carrying out multi-step molecular assays. As an example of the utility of the modular system, point mutation detection using the ligase detection reaction (LDR) following amplification by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was carried out. Fluid interconnects and standoffs ensured that temperatures in the vertically stacked reactors were within ± 0.2 C° at the center of the temperature zones and ± 1.1 C° overall. The vertical spacing between modules was confirmed using finite element models (ANSYS, Inc., Canonsburg, PA) to simulate the steady-state temperature distribution for the assembly. Passive alignment structures, including a hemispherical pin-in-hole, a hemispherical pin-in-slot, and a plate-plate lap joint, were developed using screw theory to enable accurate exactly constrained assembly of the microfluidic reactors, cover sheets, and fluid interconnects to facilitate the modular approach. The mean mismatch between the centers of adjacent through holes was 64 ± 7.7 ?m, significantly reducing the dead volume necessary to accommodate manufacturing variation. The microfluidic components were easily assembled by hand and the assembly of several different configurations of microfluidic modules for executing the assay was evaluated. Temperatures were measured in the desired range in each reactor. The biochemical performance was comparable to that obtained with benchtop instruments, but took less than 45 min to execute, half the time.
Project description:Engineered protein channels have many potential applications in biosensing at the single-molecule level. A future generation of biosensor could be an array of target-specific ion channels, where each protein pore acts as a sensor element. An important step toward this goal is to create a portable, durable, single-protein channel-integrated chip device. Here we report a versatile, modular chip that contains a single-ion channel for single-molecular biosensing. The core of the device is a long-lived lipid membrane that has been sandwiched between two air-insulated agarose layers which gel in situ. A single-protein pore embedded in the membrane serves as the sensor element. The modular device is highly portable, allowing a single-ion channel to continuously function following detachment of the chip from the instrument and independent transportation of the device. The chip also exhibits high durability, which is evidenced from long-duration continuous observation of single-channel dynamics. Once engineered protein pores are installed, the chip becomes a robust stochastic sensor for real-time targeting such as detection of the second messenger IP3. This pluggable biochip could be incorporated with many applicable devices, such as a microfluidic system, and be made into a microarray for both biomedical detection and membrane protein research.
Project description:This paper presents an easy-to-use, power-free, and modular pump for portable microfluidic applications. The pump module is a degassed particle desorption polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) slab with an integrated mesh-shaped chamber, which can be attached on the outlet port of microfluidic device to absorb the air in the microfluidic system and then to create a negative pressure for driving fluid. Different from the existing monolithic degassed PDMS pumps that are generally restricted to limited pumping capacity and are only compatible with PDMS-based microfluidic devices, this pump can offer various possible configures of pumping power by varying the geometries of the pump or by combining different pump modules and can also be employed in any material microfluidic devices. The key advantage of this pump is that its operation only requires the user to place the degassed PDMS slab on the outlet ports of microfluidic devices. To help design pumps with a suitable pumping performance, the effect of pump module geometry on its pumping capacity is also investigated. The results indicate that the performance of the degassed PDMS pump is strongly dependent on the surface area of the pump chamber, the exposure area and the volume of the PDMS pump slab. In addition, the initial volume of air in the closed microfluidic system and the cross-linking degree of PDMS also affect the performance of the degassed PDMS pump. Finally, we demonstrated the utility of this modular pumping method by applying it to a glass-based microfluidic device and a PDMS-based protein crystallization microfluidic device.
Project description:This modular assembly approach to microfabricate functional cardiovascular tissue composites enables quantitative assessment of the effects of microarchitecture on cellular function. Cardiac and endothelial modules are micromolded separately, designed to direct cardiomyocyte alignment and anisotropic contraction or vascular network formation. Assembled cardiovascular tissue composites contract synchronously, facilitating the use of this tissue-engineering platform to study structure-function relationships in the heart.
Project description:Microfluidic laboratory-on-a-chip (LOC) systems based on a modular architecture are presented. The architecture is conceptualized on two levels: a single-chip level and a multiple-chip module (MCM) system level. At the individual chip level, a multilayer approach segregates components belonging to two fundamental categories: passive fluidic components (channels and reaction chambers) and active electromechanical control structures (sensors and actuators). This distinction is explicitly made to simplify the development process and minimize cost. Components belonging to these two categories are built separately on different physical layers and can communicate fluidically via cross-layer interconnects. The chip that hosts the electromechanical control structures is called the microfluidic breadboard (FBB). A single LOC module is constructed by attaching a chip comprised of a custom arrangement of fluid routing channels and reactors (passive chip) to the FBB. Many different LOC functions can be achieved by using different passive chips on an FBB with a standard resource configuration. Multiple modules can be interconnected to form a larger LOC system (MCM level). We demonstrated the utility of this architecture by developing systems for two separate biochemical applications: one for detection of protein markers of cancer and another for detection of metal ions. In the first case, free prostate-specific antigen was detected at 500 aM concentration by using a nanoparticle-based bio-bar-code protocol on a parallel MCM system. In the second case, we used a DNAzyme-based biosensor to identify the presence of Pb(2+) (lead) at a sensitivity of 500 nM in <1 nl of solution.
Project description:Microfluidic systems are rapidly becoming commonplace tools for high-precision materials synthesis, biochemical sample preparation, and biophysical analysis. Typically, microfluidic systems are constructed in monolithic form by means of microfabrication and, increasingly, by additive techniques. These methods restrict the design and assembly of truly complex systems by placing unnecessary emphasis on complete functional integration of operational elements in a planar environment. Here, we present a solution based on discrete elements that liberates designers to build large-scale microfluidic systems in three dimensions that are modular, diverse, and predictable by simple network analysis techniques. We develop a sample library of standardized components and connectors manufactured using stereolithography. We predict and validate the flow characteristics of these individual components to design and construct a tunable concentration gradient generator with a scalable number of parallel outputs. We show that these systems are rapidly reconfigurable by constructing three variations of a device for generating monodisperse microdroplets in two distinct size regimes and in a high-throughput mode by simple replacement of emulsifier subcircuits. Finally, we demonstrate the capability for active process monitoring by constructing an optical sensing element for detecting water droplets in a fluorocarbon stream and quantifying their size and frequency. By moving away from large-scale integration toward standardized discrete elements, we demonstrate the potential to reduce the practice of designing and assembling complex 3D microfluidic circuits to a methodology comparable to that found in the electronics industry.
Project description:A modular microfluidic airways model system that can simulate the changes in oxygen tension in different compartments of the cystic fibrosis (CF) airways was designed, developed, and tested. The fully reconfigurable system composed of modules with different functionalities: multichannel peristaltic pumps, bubble traps, gas exchange chip, and cell culture chambers. We have successfully applied this system for studying the antibiotic therapy of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria mainly responsible for morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis, in different oxygen environments. Furthermore, we have mimicked the bacterial reinoculation of the aerobic compartments (lower respiratory tract) from the anaerobic compartments (cystic fibrosis sinuses) following an antibiotic treatment. This effect is hypothesised as the one on the main reasons for recurrent lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients.
Project description:Hydrogel waveguides have found increased use for variety of applications where biocompatibility and flexibility are important. In this work, we demonstrate the use of polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) waveguides to realize a monolithic lab-on-a-chip device. We performed a comprehensive study on the swelling and optical properties for different chain lengths and concentrations in order to realize an integrated biocompatible waveguide in a microfluidic device for chemical sensing. Waveguiding properties of PEGDA hydrogel were used to guide excitation light into a microfluidic channel to measure the fluorescence emission profile of rhodamine 6G as well as collect the fluorescence signal from the same device. Overall, this work shows the potential of hydrogel waveguides to facilitate delivery and collection of optical signals for potential use in wearable and implantable lab-on-a-chip devices.
Project description:In native tissues, cellular and acellular components are anisotropically organized and often aligned in specific directions, providing structural and mechanical properties for actuating biological functions. Thus, engineering alignment not only allows for emulation of native tissue structures but might also enable implementation of specific functionalities. However, achieving desired alignment is challenging, especially in three-dimensional constructs. By exploiting the elastomeric property of polydimethylsiloxane and fibrillogenesis kinetics of collagen, here we introduce a simple yet effective method to assemble and align fibrous structures in a multi-modular three-dimensional conglomerate. Applying this method, we have reconstructed the CA3-CA1 hippocampal neural circuit three-dimensionally in a monolithic gel, in which CA3 neurons extend parallel axons to and synapse with CA1 neurons. Furthermore, we show that alignment of the fibrous scaffold facilitates the establishment of functional connectivity. This method can be applied for reconstructing other neural circuits or tissue units where anisotropic organization in a multi-modular structure is desired.