The investigation of basic microfluidic elements in LTCC structures
Article publication date: 2 July 2018
The purpose of this study is to design, fabricate and investigate low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) structures with integrated microfluidic elements. Special attention is paid to the study of fluid properties of micro-channels and microvalves, which are important constitutive parts of both, microfluidic systems and individual microfluidic devices.
Several test patterns of fluid channels with different geometry and different types of valves were designed and realized in LTCC technology. All test structures were tested under the flow of two fluids (liquids): water and isopropyl alcohol. Flow rates at different applied pressure were measured and hydrodynamic resistance and diode effect were calculated.
The investigation of the channels showed that viscosity of fluidic media has significant influence on the hydrodynamic resistance in channels with rectangular cross-section, while this effect is small on channels with square cross-section. The viscosity also has a decisive influence on the diode effect of different shape of valves, and therefore, it is important in the selection of the valve in practical applications.
In this work, the investigation of hydrodynamic resistance of channels and diode effect of passive valves is limited on selected geometry and only on two fluidic media and two applied pressures. All these and some other parameters have a significant influence on fluidic properties, but this will be the topic of the next research work, which will be supported by numerical modelling.
The presented results are useful in the future designing process of LTCC-based microfluidic devices and systems.
Microfluidic in the LTCC structures is an unconventional use of this technology. Therefore, the fluid properties are relatively unsearched. On the other hand, the global use of microfluidic devices and systems is growing rapidly in various applications. They are mostly made by polymer materials, however, in more demanding applications; ceramic is a useful alternative.
The authors would like to acknowledge Mitja Jerlah (CoE NAMASTE) for fabricating the ceramic structures and the company KEKO Equipment for supplying the application specific LTCC tapes. This work was financially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency (research core funding No. P2-0105) and by the M-ERA.NET consortium of Agencies and Ministries from Slovenia, Romania and Spain (project INTcerSEN).
Belavic, D., Bradeško, A. and Uršič, H. (2018), "The investigation of basic microfluidic elements in LTCC structures", Microelectronics International, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 133-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/MI-12-2017-0072
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