Friday, May 22, 2015

Joule heating monitoring in a microfluidic channel by observing the Brownian motion of an optically trapped microsphere

Toon Brans, Filip Strubbe, Caspar Schreuer, Stijn Vandewiele, Kristiaan Neyts and Filip Beunis

Electric fields offer a variety of functionalities to Lab-on-a-Chip devices. The use of these fields often results in significant Joule heating, affecting the overall performance of the system. Precise knowledge of the temperature profile inside a microfluidic device is necessary to evaluate the implications of heat dissipation. This article demonstrates how an optically trapped microsphere can be used as a temperature probe to monitor Joule heating in these devices. The Brownian motion of the bead at room temperature is compared with the motion when power is dissipated in the system. This gives an estimate of the temperature increase at a specific location in a microfluidic channel. We demonstrate this method with solutions of different ionic strengths, and establish a precision of 0.9 K and an accuracy of 15%. Furthermore it is demonstrated that transient heating processes can be monitored with this technique, albeit with a limited time resolution.

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