ON-CHIP FLUID HANDLING (MICROPUMPS/-VALVES)

An important feature of the cell chip system is the integration of fluid handling microsystems including µ-vlaves, µ-pumps and µ-degassers to manipulate and control liquids at the microliter to nanoliter scale through microchannels. Due to the computer-controlled fashion of these fluid handling system, automation of crucial liquid handling steps (e.g. cell seeding, flow direction control, the activation of cells and their exposure to bioactive substances, concentration gradient generation, etc.)can be achieved without the need for contant hands-on work. Automated fluid handling is vital to the development of future miniaturized cell culture systems because it improves reliability, speed, and efficiency; all crucial parameters for monitoring rapid transient cell responses.


PNEUMATIC PDMS µ-PUMPS & µ-VALVES

The micropump technology integrated into our Cell Chip is based on the principle of diaphragm valves developed by our collaborating partner Prof. Mathies at the University of California, Berkeley. The microvalve-based fluid handling  technology is applied for automated and time-resolved monitoring of a panel of cytokines and other molecules being secreted by cells upon stimulation.











MINIATURIZED FLUID DEGASSER

The formation of microbubbles in microchannels pose a serious limitation for long-tern microfluidic cell cultures. To overcome existing problems associated with bubble formation we have developed integrated minaturized medium degasser to keep cell cultivation chambers free from air bubbles.




FULLY INTEGRATED CELL CHIP SYSTEM

We have recently developed the smallest fully integrated cell chip system consisting of microdegasser, micropump and impedance microchambers layered in 3-dimensional over the bottom substrate. Advantage of integrating a computer-controlled fluid handling system is the automation of a number of crucial liquid handling steps, including cell seeding, flow direction control, the activation of cells and their exposure to bioactive substances at specific solution concentrations.