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Experimental Technique for Sensing Droplet Position in Digital Microfluidic Systems Using Capacitance Measurement

[+] Author Affiliations
Heather Martin, Miguel Murran, Rachael L’Orsa, Homayoun Najjaran

University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada

Paper No. IMECE2010-39278, pp. 591-597; 7 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 10: Micro and Nano Systems
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4447-2
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Capacitance measurement has been identified as an effective technique for droplet position sensing in digital microfluidic systems mainly due to its non-intrusive nature. In essence, this technique relies on the correlation between the capacitance of two top-bottom electrodes with the amount of droplet overlap on the electrode. This paper describes an experimental setup used to gather capacitance data from a set of electrodes with varying droplet overlap to determine the droplet position. A prototype closed digital microfluidic (DMF) system consisting of an array of electrodes in the form of a 2 × 2 matrix was fabricated. A circular droplet was positioned on the DMF system, and capacitance measurements for each of the four electrodes were taken using a fast data acquisition device. A sufficiently accurate approximation of the droplet position was made using the four capacitance measurements. The paper presents the experimental results and also discusses the sources of error, viability of the experimental setup and manufacturing procedure for use in the development of capacitance measurement droplet position sensing techniques.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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