Application ID: 485
Microlaboratories for biochemical applications often require rapid mixing of different fluid streams. At the microscale, flow is usually highly ordered laminar flow, and the lack of turbulence makes diffusion the primary mechanism for mixing.
While diffusional mixing of small molecules (and therefore of rapidly diffusing species) can occur in a matter of seconds over distances of tens of micrometers, mixing of larger molecules such as peptides, proteins, and high molecular-weight nucleic acids can require equilibration times from minutes to hours over comparable distances. Such delays are impractically long for many chemical analyses. These problems have led to an intense search for more efficient mixers for microfluidic systems.
This model takes advantage of electroosmosis to mix fluids. The system applies a time-dependent electric field, and the resulting electroosmosis perturbs the parallel streamlines in the otherwise highly ordered laminar flow.