Frequency-specific flow control in microfluidic circuits with passive elastomeric features

Daniel C. Leslie, Christopher J. Easley, Erkin Seker, James M. Karlinsey, Marcel Utz, Matthew R. Begley, James P. Landers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


A fundamental challenge in the design of microfluidic devices lies in the need to control the transport of fluid according to complex patterns in space and time, and with sufficient accuracy. Although strategies based on externally actuated valves have enabled marked breakthroughs in chip-based analysis, this requires significant off-chip hardware, such as vacuum pumps and switching solenoids, which strongly tethers such devices to laboratory environments. Severing the microfluidic chip from this off-chip hardware would enable a new generation of devices that place the power of microfluidics in a broader range of disciplines. For example, complete on-chip flow control would empower highly portable microfluidic tools for diagnostics, forensics, environmental analysis and food safety, and be particularly useful in field settings where infrastructure is limited. Here, we demonstrate an elegantly simple strategy for flow control: fluidic networks with embedded deformable features are shown to transport fluid selectively in response to the frequency of a time-modulated pressure source. Distinct fluidic flow patterns are activated through the dynamic control of a single pressure input, akin to the analog responses of passive electrical circuits composed of resistors, capacitors and diodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-235
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Frequency-specific flow control in microfluidic circuits with passive elastomeric features'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this