Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Liquid metal key to simpler creation of electrodes for microfluidic devices

Date:
February 23, 2011
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Researchers have developed a faster, easier way to create microelectrodes, for use in microfluidic devices, by using liquid metal. Microfluidic devices manipulate small amounts of fluid and have a wide variety of applications, from testing minute blood samples to performing advanced chemical research.

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a faster, easier way to create microelectrodes, for use in microfluidic devices, by using liquid metal. Microfluidic devices manipulate small amounts of fluid and have a wide variety of applications, from testing minute blood samples to performing advanced chemical research.

Related Articles


"By making it easier to incorporate electrodes into microfluidic devices, we hope to facilitate research and development into new technologies that utilize those devices, such as biomedical tools," says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.

Traditionally, microfluidic devices have incorporated solid metal electrodes that serve as sensors, pumps, antennas or other functions. However, these solid electrodes can be problematic, because they need to be physically aligned to a channel that runs through the device. The channel serves as the entry point for whatever fluid the device is designed to manipulate. Aligning the electrodes is tricky because the electrodes are only tens to hundreds of microns in diameter, as is the channel itself. It is difficult to manipulate objects of that size -- a micron is one-millionth of a meter, and a human hair is approximately 100 microns in diameter.

The NC State team has addressed the problem by designing microfluidic devices that incorporate three channels, with the central channel separated from the other two by a series of closely set posts. The researchers inject the two outer channels with a liquid metal alloy composed of gallium and indium. The alloy fills the outer channels completely, but forms an oxidized "skin" that spans the space between the posts -- leaving the central channel free to receive other fluids.

"This approach allows you to create perfectly aligned electrodes in a single step," Dickey says. "The channels are built into the device, so the electrodes are inherently aligned -- we get the metal to go exactly where we want it. This means creating these devices is easier and faster."

In addition, this approach allows for the creation of electrodes in useful configurations that were previously difficult or impossible to achieve. This can be done by changing the shape of the channels that will be injected with the liquid metal. These configurations would create more uniform electric fields, for use in manipulating fluids and particles.

The paper, "Inherently aligned microfluidic electrodes composed of liquid metal," was co-authored by Dickey and NC State Ph.D. student Ju-Hee So. The paper is forthcoming from the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal Lab on a Chip. The research was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.

NC State's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is part of the university's College of Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ju-Hee So, Michael D. Dickey. Inherently aligned microfluidic electrodes composed of liquid metal. Lab on a Chip, 2011; 11 (5): 905 DOI: 10.1039/c0lc00501k

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Liquid metal key to simpler creation of electrodes for microfluidic devices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122057.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2011, February 23). Liquid metal key to simpler creation of electrodes for microfluidic devices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122057.htm
North Carolina State University. "Liquid metal key to simpler creation of electrodes for microfluidic devices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122057.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British 'Bio-Bus' Is Powered By Human Waste

British 'Bio-Bus' Is Powered By Human Waste

Buzz60 (Nov. 21, 2014) British company GENeco debuted what its calling the Bio-Bus, a bus fueled entirely by biomethane gas produced from food scraps and sewage. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins