Microfluidics driver for lab prototyping and product development

We’ve teamed up with Sensirion to combine their SLF3x liquid flow sensor series with our Disc Pump Evaluation Kit to create a prototype microfluidics driver, highlighting the exceptional liquid flow control that can be achieved by combining our technologies. This approach suits a wide range of microfluidics applications, from IVD diagnostic instrumentation (including miniaturised systems for Point of Care) to droplet microfluidics.

This application page explains the how to set up the same system for your own experiments.

Key Features


  • High-precision, stable flow-rate control.
  • Large dynamic flow range (four orders of magnitude).
  • Smooth liquid flow – no pulsation or oscillation.
  • Rapid response to setpoint changes.
  • Highly compact implementation possible.
  • Pressure-driven flow approach supports reusable/disposable model where cross-contamination needs to be avoided.


  • Video: examples of microfluidics processes controlled by Disc Pump, including homogeneous droplet generation, stop-start and reversible flow control, and side-by-side laminar flow of two fluids.

System Performance



The graph shows a logarithmic step-function in flow rate over four orders of magnitude—3, 30, 300 and 3000 µL/min—illustrating the wide dynamic range possible with this set up.

At each step, flow is held for 30 seconds to demonstrate the flow control precision and stability. This capability is made possible by the pulsation-free output of the Disc Pump, its high-precision control, and the excellent resolution and performance of the Sensirion flow sensor.

The pressure generated by Disc Pump can be changed very rapidly, which in turn supports rapid liquid flow-rate changes. In this system, the time required to transition between steps is less than 2 seconds.


System Components

  • TTP Ventus Disc Pump Evaluation Kit, fitted in this example with a DP-S2-007 pump1.
  • Sensirion SLF3S-0600F liquid flow sensor, offering a 0 to ±2000 µL/min measurement range2.
  • Liquid reservoir—we used an Elveflow Microfluidic Reservoir for 15 mL Falcon Tube - S (2 port) with the add-on fluidic fittings kit, but other reservoirs will work equally well.
  • Molex 151340602 cable assembly to connect flow sensor to the Evaluation Kit.
  • Optional: needle valve / bleed orifice between pump and reservoir (not shown in photo). This may be helpful for very low flow rate control and/or ability to stop liquid flow quickly, dependent on the specific system architecture

1 Other pump models are available to suit your requirements. Please refer to the products section of our website for more information on the available pump options—and contact us for selection guidance: ttpventus.com/micropump-products.

2 The Disc Pump Evaluation Kit also supports the SLF3S-1300F liquid flow sensor (full-scale flow rate range: ±40 ml/min). Future support will be provided for the LD20 single-use liquid flow sensor – please discuss with TTP Ventus. For further guidance on sensor selection, please contact Sensirion.

Operation



TTP Ventus has created firmware to communicate with and take measurements from the SLF3S-0600F liquid flow sensor, and to operate closed-loop control of the flow rate.

To operate the system:

  • Connect the components together per the system photograph.
  • Connect the Disc Pump Evaluation Kit to a PC with the supplied USB cable.
  • Open the TTP Ventus Pump Control App supplied with the kit
  • Select the appropriate COM port and connect to the board
  • Select the PID control tab
  • Select your preferred flow rate setpoint source – we recommend using Manual, initially. Please see the Evaluation Kit User Manual for more information on setpoint sources.
  • Select External Flow Sensor as the Input.

Using the System Inputs panel, enter your desired flow rate into the Manual entry box, such as 1 ml/min as in the example below.


Ordering


  • Please order components separately from their respective suppliers
  • When ordering the Disc Pump Evaluation Kit, please indicate to TTP Ventus that you would like the variant with Sensirion SLF3x support. Please also specify the pump model required when ordering. The full list of models is available on our products page. TTP Ventus is happy to provide support when selecting pump models – please contact us to discuss us.
  • The SLF3x liquid flow sensors are available through Sensirion's worldwide distribution network. Find your local distributor here: www.sensirion.com/distributor-search. Evaluation Kits are also available for these sensors (note: these are not the same as the TTP Ventus Disc Pump Evaluation Kit).

Further Support



Application Notes


Download the Application Note for this page: AN007 Microfluidics Driver pdf519.6 kB
Download our broader microfluidics Application Note AN002 Disc Pump Microfluidics pdf1.39 MB


Next Steps


Resources to support the next stage of product development and integration can be found at:

www.ttpventus.com/support
ttpventus.com/micropump-applications/life-sciences/microfluidics
Example code for Arduino for Sensirion’s Liquid Flow Sensors
Building a standalone flow meter using Arduino and Sensirion’s Liquid Flow Sensors

For specific questions, please contact support@ttpventus.com.