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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Institute of Technology
School of Physics and Astronomy
Department of Physics

PI: Joachim D. Mueller

Bio-Microfluidics Modeling

This group is interested in the precise manipulation of biological objects, such as cells and viruses, for further spectroscopic characterization. The most critical issue in the design of a bio-analytical microfluidic device is the control of bio-particle motion in fluids. Predicting micro-scale motion is challenging, because electrokinetic forces, energy dissipation, and surface interactions often dominate the fluid dynamic aspect. Bio-particles have characteristic lengths ranging from nano- to micrometer. The physical process governing the dynamics of bio-particles is typically determined by the interactions between particles, fluid, solid interfaces, and external electric fields. Due to the intrinsic complex nature of the problem, it is hard to predict the performance of microfluidic devices. As a result, the design process of microfluidic structures often lacks a clear, physics-based guidance. In order to avoid a trial-and-error based approach, this project aims at simulating the behavior of microfluidic devices with the goal to optimize their performance by changing the physical design parameters. The designs will be implemented in real devices and tested. In addition, the researchers will improve the modeling through critical comparison of the experimental results with the simulations.

Group Members

Yun Chen, Graduate Student
Jolene Johnson, Graduate Student
Bin Wu, Graduate Student