A microfluidic device based on an evaporation-driven micropump

C. Nie, A.J.H. Frijns, R. Mandamparambil, J.M.J. Toonder, den

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper we introduce a microfluidic device ultimately to be applied as a wearable sweat sensor. We show proof-of-principle of the microfluidic functions of the device, namely fluid collection and continuous fluid flow pumping. A filter-paper based layer, that eventually will form the interface between the device and the skin, is used to collect the fluid (e.g., sweat) and enter this into the microfluidic device. A controllable evaporation driven pump is used to drive a continuous fluid flow through a microfluidic channel and over a sensing area. The key element of the pump is a micro-porous membrane mounted at the channel outlet, such that a pore array with a regular hexagonal arrangement is realized through which the fluid evaporates, which drives the flow within the channel. The system is completely fabricated on flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foils, which can be the backbone material for flexible electronics applications, such that it is compatible with volume production approaches like Roll-to-Roll technology. The evaporation rate can be controlled by varying the outlet geometry and the temperature. The generated flows are analyzed experimentally using Particle Tracking Velocimetry (PTV). Typical results show that with 1 to 61 pores (diameter¿=¿250 µm, pitch¿=¿500 µm) flow rates of 7.3¿×¿10-3 to 1.2¿×¿10-1 µL/min are achieved. When the surface temperature is increased by 9.4 °C, the flow rate is increased by 130 %. The results are theoretically analyzed using an evaporation model that includes an evaporation correction factor. The theoretical and experimental results are in good agreement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-1/12
Number of pages12
JournalBiomedical Microdevices
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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