Imaging of Pressure- and Electrokinetically Driven Flows through Open Capillaries


Subjects: Technology

A new tool for imaging both scalar transport and velocity fields in liquid flows through microscale structures is described. The technique employs an ultraviolet laser pulse to write a pattern into the flow by uncaging a fluorescent dye. This is followed, at selected time delays, by flood illumination with a pulse of visible light which excites the uncaged dye. The resulting fluorescence image is collected onto a sensitive CCD camera. The instrument is designed as an oil immersion microscope to minimize beam steering effects. The caged fluorescent dye is seeded in trace quantities throughout the active fluid, thus images with high contrast and minimal distortion due to any molecular diffusion history can be obtained at any point within the microchannel by selectively activating the dye in the immediate region of interest. We report images of pressure- and electrokinetically driven steady flow within round cross section capillaries having micrometer scale inner diameters. We also demonstrate the ability to recover the velocity profile from a time sequence of these scalar images by direct inversion of the conserved scalar advection-convection equation.