Optically driven pumps and flow sensors for microfluidic systems

H. Mushfique, J. Leach, R. Di Leonardo, M. J. Padgett, J. M. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes techniques for generating and measuring fluid flow in microfluidic devices. The first technique is for the multi-point measurement. of fluid flow in microscopic geometries. The flow sensing method uses an array of optically-trapped microprobe sensors to map out the fluid flow. The optical traps are alternately turned on and off such that the probe particles are displaced by the flow of the surrounding fluid and then retrapped. The particles' displacements are monitored by digital video microscopy and directly converted into velocity field values. The second is a method for generating flow within a microfluidic channel using an optically driven pump. The optically driven pump consists of two counter-rotating birefringent vaterite particles trapped within a microfluidic channel and driven using optical tweezers. The transfer of spin angular momentum from a circularly polarized laser beam causes the particles to rotate at up to 10 Hz. The pump is shown to be able to displace fluid in microchannels, with flow rates of up to 200 m(-3) s(-1) (200 fL s(-1)). In addition a flow sensing method, based upon the technique mentioned above, is incorporated into the system in order to map the magnitude and direction of fluid flow within the channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-837
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'Optically driven pumps and flow sensors for microfluidic systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this