By using characteristics of titania nanoparticles, a patterning and tuning method of microchannel surface wettability was developed for microfluid control. Titania modification of a microchannel provided a nanometer-sized surface roughness and the subsequent hydrophobic treatment made the surface superhydrophobic. Photocatalytic decomposition of the coated hydrophobic molecules was used to pattern the surface wettability which was tuned in the range from superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic under controlled photoirradiation. Four-step wettability-based Laplace valves working as passive stop valves (6.8-12.5 kPa pressure barrier) were prepared by using the patterned and tuned surface. As a demonstration, a batch operation system consisting of two sub-nL dispensers and a reaction chamber was constructed. Fundamental liquid manipulations required for the batch operation were successfully conducted, including liquid measurement (390 and 770 pL), transportation, injection into the chamber, and retention in the chamber. To verify the quantitative operation, the system was applied to a fluorescence quenching experiment as an example of volumetric analyses. The present method provides flexible patterning in a wide range of tuned wettability surfaces in microchannels even after channel fabrication and it can be applied to various two- or multi-phase microfluidic systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering