Mapping vortex-like hydrodynamic flow in microfluidic networks using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy

Ke Liu, Yu Tian, Sean M. Burrows, Randall D. Reif, Dimitri Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The ability to quickly measure flow parameters in microfluidic devices is critical for micro total analysis system (μTAS) applications. Macrofluidic methods to assess flow suffer from limitations that have made conventional methods unsuitable for the flow behavior profiling. Single molecule fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) has been employed in our study to characterize the fluidic vortex generating at a T-shape junction of microscale channels. Due to its high spatial and temporal resolution, the corresponding magnitudes relative to different flow rates in the main channel can be quantitatively differentiated using flow time (τF) measurements of dye molecules traversing the detection volume in buffer solution. Despite the parabolic flow in the channel upstream, a heterogeneous distribution of flow has been detected across the channel intersection. In addition, our current observations also confirmed the aspect of vortex-shaped flow in low-shear design that was developed previously for cell culture. This approach not only overcomes many technical barriers for examining hydrodynamic vortices and movements in miniature structures without physically integrating any probes, but it is also especially useful for the hydrodynamic studies in polymer-glass based micro -reactor and -mixer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 28 2009


  • Diffusion time (τ)
  • Flow time (τ)
  • Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS)
  • Microfluidics
  • Rhodamine 110
  • Vortex


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