Europhys. Lett.
Volume 68, Number 3, November 2004
Page(s) 412 - 418
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 09 October 2004
Europhys. Lett., 68 (3), pp. 412-418 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10221-7

Permeation-induced flows: Consequences for silicone-based microfluidics

E. Verneuil, A. Buguin and P. Silberzan

Laboratoire Physico Chimie Curie (UMR 168), Institut Curie 11 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75231 Paris, France

received 28 June 2004; accepted in final form 8 September 2004
published online 9 October 2004

The permeation properties of water through silicone elastomers have been studied in microfabricated channels. This effect, negligible for most macroscopic systems, generates flows in silicone-based microfluidic structures that can be strong enough to become a major concern. By observing the motion of tracers in channels of various geometries, these flows have been quantitatively measured and the average velocity has been shown to be roughly inversely proportional to the section of the channel. This effect can be advantageously used to concentrate colloids and in some cases to crystallize these particles.

68.03.Fg - Evaporation and condensation.
81.40.-z - Treatment of materials and its effects on microstructure and properties.
47.62.+q - Flow control.

© EDP Sciences 2004