For devices such as bio-/chemical sensors in microfluidic systems, flow fluctuations result in noise in the sensor output. Here, we demonstrate in-line monitoring of flow fluctuations with a cantilever-like sensor integrated in a microfluidic channel. The cantilevers are fabricated in different materials (SU-8 and SiN) and with different thicknesses. The integration of arrays of holes with different hole size and number of holes allows the modification of device sensitivity, theoretical detection limit and measurement range. For an average flow in the microliter range, the cantilever deflection is directly proportional to the flow rate fluctuations in the microfluidic channel. The SiN cantilevers show a detection limit below 1 nL/min and the thinnest SU-8 cantilevers a detection limit below 5 nL/min. Finally, the sensor is applied for in-line monitoring of flow fluctuations generated by external pumps connected to the microfluidic system. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Bibliographical note© 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland
- Micromechanical sensor
- Flow meter
- Pump characterization