Valve Concepts for Microfluidic Cell Handling
Keywords:microfluidic chip, valve, cell handling, simulation, pneumatic actuation, polydimethylsiloxane
AbstractIn this paper we present various pneumatically actuated microfluidic valves to enable user-defined fluid management within a microfluidic chip. To identify a feasible valve design, certain valve concepts are simulated in ANSYS to investigate the pressure dependent opening and closing characteristics of each design. The results are verified in a series of tests. Both the microfluidic layer and the pneumatic layer are realized by means of soft-lithographic techniques. In this way, a network of channels is fabricated in photoresist as a molding master. By casting these masters with PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) we get polymeric replicas containing the channel network. After a plasma-enhanced bonding process, the two layers are irreversibly bonded to each other. The bonding is tight for pressures up to 2 bar. The valves are integrated into a microfluidic cell handling system that is designed to manipulate cells in the presence of a liquid reagent (e.g. PEG – polyethylene glycol, for cell fusion). For this purpose a user-defined fluid management system is developed. The first test series with human cell lines show that the microfluidic chip is suitable for accumulating cells within a reaction chamber, where they can be flushed by a liquid medium.