WARF: P01118US

Method and Structure for Microfluidic Flow Guiding


David Beebe, Jeffrey Moore, Bin Zhao

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a device that uses microscale surface effects to control and direct the flow of liquids.
OVERVIEWMicrofluidic devices are miniature systems that pump, mix, monitor and control small quantities of liquids. These systems have a number of applications, including painless drug delivery and analysis of tiny liquid volumes.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a structure for guiding microfluidic flow that uses existing channel systems made from glass, silicon or photosensitive polymers to create flow channels. A parallel combination of gas/liquid/gas or liquid/gas/liquid is flowed through the solid channels, creating a virtual wall between the phases due to lack of turbulence.
  • The microfluidically-controlled streams may be used for chemical analysis, drug research, air borne sample collection, cooling of electronic chips, implantable drug dispensing systems, chromatography, flow sensors and dialysis systems.
  • Resistance to flow is minimized.
  • Flow remains laminar up to relatively high flow rates.
  • Allows gas-liquid reactions to take place as a function of diffusion across the interface
  • Provides a method to concentrate liquids on microchips
  • Flow guiding stripes may be formed by lithography and deposition of self-assembled monolayers.
  • Valves, which control the flow of liquid on the guiding stripes, can be formed of materials that change dimension (hydrogels) or that change over time from hydrophobic to hydrophilic.
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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