WARF: P01314US

Autonomous Self-Regulating Microfluidic System


David Beebe, Jeffrey Moore, Robin Liu, David Eddington

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a self-regulating microfluidic system.
OVERVIEWCurrently, no simple methods for the economical construction of complex microsystems exist. Some feedback systems have been constructed, but their complicated fabrication hinders their application.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed an inexpensive, easy-to-construct and self-regulating system for maintaining the pH and other parameters of a fluid stream in a microfluidic channel. They used stacked micromolding methods and liquid phase polymerization techniques to construct the device, which incorporates a pH-sensitive hydrogel. Expansion and contraction of the hydrogel regulates the flow of a compensating buffer to maintain a chosen pH. The hydrogel composition can be changed so that several fluid parameters can be monitored and regulated.
  • Self-regulating microfluidic systems
  • No external power source required
  • Self-regulating
  • Can be constructed within a short period of time (pH sensor is constructed within one day)
  • pH can be regulated for input flow rates between 25  and 100 uL/min by the hydrogel sensor/actuator
  • Could facilitate the integration of microsystems with living systems
  • Capable of controlling many different parameter including pH (demonstrated), temperature, light, electric fields and biological/molecular (including glucose)
  • A star-shaped valve has been designed that contributes to system stability.
  • Feedback flow is introduced under the input, leading to symmetric volume expansion (contributes to stability) and an increase in response time.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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