An optical flow MTV based technique for measuring microfluidic flow in the presence of diffusion and Taylor dispersion


Authors: Beushausen, Garbe, Jähne, Roetmann
Subjects: Technology

A novel technique is presented for accurately measuring flow fields in microfluidic flows from molecular tagging velocimetry (MTV). Limited optical access is frequently encountered in microfluidic systems. Therefore, in this contribution we analyze the special case of tagging a line across the thin dimension of a microchannel and subsequent imaging along this line. This represents a set-up that is applicable to a wide range of microfluidic applications. A volume illumination has to be used, resulting in an integration of the visualized dye across the flow profile. This leads to the well-known effect of Taylor dispersion. Our novel technique consists of measuring motion from digital image sequences in a gradient-based approach. A motion model is developed which explicitly deals with brightness changes due to Taylor dispersion and additional molecular diffusion of dyes. The presented approach is specific to the case of a parabolic velocity profile. In the presence of these effects, an accurate computation of motion is only possible by applying this novel motion model. Our technique is tested on simulated sequences corrupted with varying levels of noise and on actual measurements. Measurements were conducted in a microfluidic mixer of precisely known flow properties. In the same mixer, a comparative study of our MTV technique to μPIV was performed. Also, the results were compared to bulk measurements of the fluid flow velocity. The novel algorithm compared favorably and also, measurements were conducted on inhomogeneous flow configurations.