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Lab Chip. 2009 Jan 21;9(2):297-304. doi: 10.1039/b815114h. Epub 2008 Oct 24.

Effective mixing of laminar flows at a density interface by an integrated ultrasonic transducer.

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Department of Engineering Sciences, Angström Laboratory, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 534, SE-751 21, Uppsala, Sweden.


An acoustic mixer for glass channel microfluidic systems is presented. An acoustic standing wave, perpendicular to the fluid flow, is generated by the excitation of a miniaturized piezoelectric transducer operated around 10 MHz. The transducer is fabricated into a planar printed circuit board structure, constituting the bottom channel wall, which makes the mixer simple to integrate with a wide selection of microfluidic channel designs. The mixing occurs at a fluid-fluid density interface due to the acoustic radiation force; an analytical expression is derived to qualitatively describe this phenomenon. Only a small density difference in the range of 2-5% is required to achieve 150-270% peak broadening of a fluorescent sample between sheath flows, which we use as a measure of the mixing efficiency. The mixing efficiency is measured with regard to its sensitivity to the density difference, the fluid velocity and the transducer driving frequency. Transducers at different positions along the microchannel make it possible to compare the mixing of straight versus diagonal flows across the transducer surface. We finally demonstrate enhanced chemical lysis of E. coli K12 cells in the device due to active fluid mixing.

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