Turbulence in microfluidics: cleanroom-free, fast, solventless, and bondless fabrication and application in high throughput liquid-liquid extraction
Camila L. de Camargo, Letícia Y. Shiroma, Gabriela F. Giordano, Angelo L. Gobbi, Luis C. S. Vieira, and Renato S. Lima*
Laboratório de Microfabricação, Laboratório Nacional de Nanotecnologia, Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais, Campinas, São Paulo 13083-100, Brasil
This paper addresses an important breakthrough in the deployment of ultra-high adhesion strength microfluidic technologies to provide turbulence at harsh flow rate conditions. This paper is only, to our knowledge, the second reporting on the generation of high flow rate-assisted turbulence in microchannels. This flow solves a crucial bottleneck in microfluidics: the generation of high throughput homogeneous mixings. We focused on the fabrication of bulky polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microchips (without any interfaces) rather than the laborious surface modifications that were employed in the first reporting about turbulence-assisted microfluidics. The fabrication is cleanroom-free, simple, low-cost, fast, solventless, and bondless requiring only a laboratory oven. More specifically, our method relies on the shaping of a nylon scaffold, cure of PDMS with embedded nylon, and removal of this scaffold. The scaffold was obtained by manually wrapping nylon threads. The withdrawing out of the scaffold was completed in few seconds using only a plier. Such microchannels endured flow rates of up to 60.0 mL min-1with a strikingly low elastic deformation. The importance in producing turbulence into microscale channels was successfully shown in liquid-liquid extractions. The great energy dissipation rate relative to the turbulence created high throughput and efficient extractions in microfluidics for the first time. The residence time was only 0.01 s at 25.0 mL min-1 (total flow rate of the immiscible phases). In addition, the partition coefficient determined in a single run was similar to that obtained by the conventional batch shake-flask method that was realized in triplicate.
This article was published in Analytica Chimica Acta (Elsevier, DOI 10.1016/j.aca.2016.08.052). The project has been developed in Microfabrication Laboratory (LMF, LNNano) with financial support from FAPESP (Grant No. 2014/24126-6) and Petrobras (Grant No. 2012/00029-6). Lastly, ‘Laboratório de Microscopia Eletrônica’ from LNNano is thanked for its provision of facilities to record the microscopy images.