An integrated electrothermal processor for portable lab-on-a-chip applications

Project: Research project

Project Details




The goal of this project is to elucidate electrothermal flow, which is fluid motion driven by electrical forces that arise from the presence of non-uniform fluid properties that develop in response to Joule heating, toward the realization of an electrothermal processor for lab-on-a-chip applications. The use of electrothermal flow for microfluidic operations relevant to point-of-care biomedical analyses will be examined.

Intellectual Merit: A combined theoretical (scaling analysis and Greens function) and experimental (micro particle image velocimetry and thermochromic liquid crystal) approach will be taken to systematically investigate the coupled dynamics of electrothermal flow. The boundary element method will be used to unravel the influence of interrelated operating parameters such as the electric field strength and frequency, the buffer electrical conductivity, and the electrode configuration, on the flow. A concentric electrode arrangement, which is capable of promoting mixing, concentration, and separation, will be applied to both (i) characterize the electrothermal flow and (ii) determine the potential utility of electrothermal flow in various biological applications. The potential use of electrothermal flow in key processes, such as DNA hybridization and bacteria trapping, will be investigated.

Broader Impact: While the advent of microfluidics holds promise for lab-on-a-chip applications, the challenge of automating sample preparation for point-of-care diagnostic systems remains. This study directly addresses this challenge. The research will be integrated across several educational and outreach fronts such as course and laboratory development, exposure of undergraduate and minority students to research opportunities, and outreach to K-12 students and high school teachers.

Effective start/end date9/1/098/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $297,963.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.