: Received: 22 December 2021 / Approved: 24 December 2021 / Online: 24 December 2021 (15:54:59 CET)
: Received: 2 January 2022 / Approved: 5 January 2022 / Online: 5 January 2022 (10:36:30 CET)
Over the last two decades, microfluidics has received significant attention from both academia and industry, and researchers report thousands of new prototype devices each year for use in a broad range of environmental, pharmaceutical, and biomedical engineering applications. While lab-on-a-chip fabrication costs have continued to decrease, the hardware required for monitoring fluid flows within microfluidic devices themselves remains expensive and often cost prohibitive for researchers interested in starting a microfluidics project. As microfluidic devices become capable of handling complex fluidic systems, low-cost, precise and real time pressure and flow rate measurement capabilities has become increasingly important. While many labs use commercial platforms and sensor, these solutions can often cost thousands of dollars and can be too bulky for on-chip use. Here we present a new inexpensive and easy -to-use piezoresistive pressure and flow sensor that can be easily integrated into existing on-chip microfluidic channels. The sensor consists of PDMS-Carbon black conductive membranes and uses an impedance analyzer to measure impedance change due fluid pressure. The sensor costs several orders of magnitude less than existing commercial platforms and can monitor local fluid pressures and calculate flow rates based on pressure gradient.
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