Microfluidic droplet content detection using integrated capacitive sensors
Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical
669 - 675
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Microfluidic capacitive sensors have been used for detection of droplets, however they have been lacking the sensitivity required for detecting the content of droplets. In this study, we developed a scalable, portable, robust and high sensitivity capacitive microdroplet content detection system using coplanar electrodes with nanometer thick silicon dioxide (SiO2) passivation layer and off-the-shelf capacitive sensors. The microfluidic chip we have designed provides easy and rapid modification of droplet content by mixing two aqueous liquids at any given ratio. The change in dielectric constant of the droplet content leads to the change in capacitive signal. The dielectric content of droplets was modified continuously while corresponding capacitance signal was measured. The resolution of the system was measured as 3 dielectric permittivity units. The results were verified using a semiconductor parameter analyzer. The application specific integrated circuit used in this work enables a portable, low-cost detection system and matches the performance of bench-top analyzers. Automated and precise measurement of dielectric content in droplets for biochemical assay monitoring is a major application of the presented system.