Research Area: Fluidics

Flows at small scales

Fluidics is the technology that uses fluid flow to perform mechanical, electrical or analytical operations in small scales. Fluidic devices are designed for high-throughput screening, protein crystallization and for a large variety of analytical applications. The advantages of this approach are multifold: the ability to use small amounts of samples and reagents, high resolution achievable in detection and separation of analytes and components, low costs, and short times required for tasks. The future of fluidic technology depends strongly on the understanding of the mechanics of multiphase flows at small scales.

The fluidics research at MESA+ focuses on the one hand on fabrication of micro/nanostructures for energy conversion, process intensification, drug delivery, micro/nanosensors, and on the other hand in gaining insight in the electrical, mechanical and chemical interaction of fluids with interfaces at small scales.

The micro/nanofabrication capabilities in the installations of MESA+ NanoLab makes it one of the world leading institutes in fluidics research.

Past & present performance

Giant and explosive plasmonic bubbles by delayed nucleation

When gold nano particles in water are illuminated by a laser, vapour bubbles form. New experiments from researchers in Twente and Utrecht, published in PNAS, show that before this, a much larger bubble is formed that explodes violently. For energy conversion of the particles to the liquid they are in, this discovery is very important.

Breath Figures under Electrowetting

Condensation of water is a natural phenomenon, seen for example in dew condensation. It is utilized in various technologies. To improve efficiency, it is essential to control the underlying characteristics. Researchers from Twente have demonstrated that the distribution of condensate drops can be controlled using electrical forces.

Brain on a chip

To study brain cell’s operation and test the effect of medication, a conventional Petri dish is not sufficient. For realistic studies, cells have to flourish within three-dimensional surroundings. MESA+-researcher Bart Schurink has developed a sieve with 900 openings with the shape of an inverted pyramid, on top of which a micro-reactor takes care of cell growth.

3D capillary stop valves for versatile patterning

A group of MESA+ researchers lead by Prof. Jan Eijkel propose a method, based on capillary phenomena using 3D capillary valves, that autonomously and conveniently allows us to pattern liquids inside closed chips. They theoretically analyse the system and demonstrate that the method can be used as a design tool for various applications.

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Enhanced ion transport using charge selective interfaces

Electrodialysis (ED) is an established technique in water deionization, using a stack of alternating anion and cation selective membranes. The group lead by Rob Lammertink and Jeffery Wood built a microfluidic platform containing charged hydrogels to investigate the effect of geometry on charge transport in electrodialysis applications.

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