Research ArticleENGINEERING

Autonomous microfluidic actuators for periodic sequential flow generation

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Science Advances  19 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaat3080
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat3080


Control of periodic sequential flows of multisolutions is invaluable in a variety of technology and science applications, but it requires complex and expensive external controllers. Here, we present microfluidic systems that autonomously regulate periodic sequential flows without any user instructions or dynamic external controllers. The systems consist of astable and monostable actuators that mimic the functions of analog electronic circuits. With a constant water head pressure of the input solution acting as the sole driving force, these systems generate periodic sequential flows in a predetermined and sophisticated manner. We validate our technology with the applications that have been previously addressed only by dynamic external controllers: dynamic staining of cell nuclei and playing a touchscreen piano. Our approach provides a useful and effective alternative to dynamic external controllers.

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