Low-powered microfluidic systems have been demonstrated in a variety of point-of-care biomedical diagnostic applications; however, the potential for the widespread commercial applicability of this technology, the requirement for being portable, disposable and inexpensive, is greatly hindered by the nearly-ubiquitous need for bulky and expensive externally- powered pressure sources needed to pump fluids through such devices. Furthermore, as advanced additive manufacturing techniques such as micro/nano-scale 3D printing are becoming more widely used in BioMEMS manufacturing, conventional soft- lithography fabrication approaches are becoming comparatively more costly, time consuming and labor intensive. To overcome these critical limitations of conventional microfluidics, for this project we propose a low-cost microfluidic one-way pumping and mixing system powered solely by the operator’s finger fabricated via micro-scale 3D printing. The three-dimensional geometric complexity permitted only by additive manufacturing processes allows for the construction of fully-integrated three- dimensional micro-scale fluidic control and actuation elements (i.e. fluidic diodes and thin membrane-enclosed interconnected balloon cavities and capacitor- like fluidic actuation source). We demonstrate a 3D printed one-way microfluidic pump, allowing the user to pump fluid at upwards of 150 micro-Liters/minute, with flow rate correlating to the pumping frequency. Furthermore, we will demonstrate the application of two integrated one-way pumps as a 3D printed microfluidic mixer capable of rapid pulsatile mixing of two fluids, powered by a singular shared finger-powered pump. Our finger- powered 3D printed microfluidic devices have established an alternative to conventional externally-powered microfluidics, and upon further development, such designs could prove critical tools in resolving the foremost commercial limitations of conventional microfluidic point-of-care diagnostic devices.
Project end date: 08/25/16