Curved passive mixing structures: a robust design to obtain efficient mixing and mass transfer in microfluidic channels
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering (JMM). 2021, 31 (1), 015006. 10.1088/1361-6439/abc820
Analyte mixing and delivery to a functionalized sensor surface are important to realize several advantages associated with biosensors integrated with microfluidic channels. Here, we present a comparison between a herringbone structure (HBS) and a curved passive mixing structure of their efficiency at facilitating mixing and surface saturation using fluorescein included in one of the inlets of a Y-channel microfluidic device. We performed a large parametric study to assess the effects of varying the height of the microfluidic channel as well as the height, width, and spacing of the passive mixing structures. Scanning confocal microscopy combined with a custom-designed image-analysis procedure were utilized to visualize and quantify the observed changes in efficiency in inducing solute mixing by the different designs. The flow patterns within the channels were found to vary significantly with changes in the geometry of the passive mixing structures, which in turn affected the efficiency of the channel at mixing the fluid and saturating the surface opposite the mixing structures. The solute mixing as a function of the channel length was also determined; an initial slow mixing rate does not always coincide with a low mixing index (MI). We found that the range of MIs for the curved mixing structure 1 cm downstream from the inlet was 0.85–0.99 whilst for our HBS it was 0.74–0.98, depending on the design parameters of the passive mixing structures. Overall, this study shows that the curved passive mixing structure family is more robust in inducing efficient mixing than the HBSs.