Analytical Chemistry

A versatile capillaric microfluidics viscometer platform for bar-graph type point-of-care diagnostics



A novel capillary action microfluidic viscometer has been designed that can measure the relative viscosity of a sample compared to a control liquid. Using capillary action circuits, the viscosity of a sample is transformed into a microfluidic bar-graph format without the use of external instrumentation. The bars in this case are represented by the distance that a liquid has flown through a microfluidic channel, relative to another liquid in an identical channel. As the device does not require external instrumentation, its use is targeted at point-of-care (PoC) situations. This implementation is made practical through capillaric Field Effect Transistors, and the conditional flow paths they enable. In this paper, we report on the design, operation, and performance of a two-channel version viscometer device exclusively based on capillary action circuits. Using poly-ethylene glycol solutions as viscous samples, we demonstrate that the device can transduce the relative viscosity consistently to within 2%. Enabled by the flexibility of the capillary action circuits, we additionally present a modified device which can measure transparent liquids without the need to add colorants to the sample. The forms of the device presented in this work have applications in both medical care and scientific measurements—particularly for PoC measurements.


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Supplementary material

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Differential Viscometer - Supporting Information
Contains supplementary information regarding the implementation of the differential viscometer.
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Supplementary Video #1 - Basic Operation
A video showing basic the operation of the viscometer device.
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Supplementary Video #2 - Viscosity Study
A video showing the results generated when different viscosity solutions are tested in the chip.
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Supplementary Information #3 - Read-out seperation device
A video showing the operation of the read-out separated viscometer device, for visualisation of transparent liquids.