KLER Pablo Alejandro
Design keys for paper-based concentration gradient generators
SCHAUMBURG, FEDERICO; URTEAGA, RAÚL; KLER, PABLO A.; BERLI, CLAUDIO L.A.
JOURNAL OF CHROMATOGRAPHY - A
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Año: 2018 vol. 1561 p. 83 - 91
The generation of concentration gradients is an essential operation for several analytical processes implemented on microfluidic paper-based analytical devices. The dynamic gradient formation is based on the transverse dispersion of chemical species across co-flowing streams. In paper channels, this transverse flux of molecules is dominated by mechanical dispersion, which is substantially different than molecular diffusion, which is the mechanism acting in conventional microchannels. Therefore, the design of gradient generators on paper requires strategies different from those used in traditional microfluidics. This work considers the foundations of transverse dispersion in porous substrates to investigate the optimal design of microfluidic paper-based concentration gradient generators (μPGGs) by computer simulations. A set of novel and versatile μPGGs were designed in the format of numerical prototypes, and virtual experiments were run to explore the ranges of operation and the overall performance of such devices. Then physical prototypes were fabricated and experimentally tested in our lab. Finally, some basic rules for the design of optimized μPGGs are proposed. Apart from improving the efficiency of mixers, diluters and μPGGs, the results of this investigation are relevant to attain highly controlled concentration fields on paper-based devices.