Free-Surface Microfluidics and SERS for High Performance Sample Capture and Analysis

C. Meinhart
University of California, Santa Barbara,
United States

Keywords: Microfluidics, SERS

Summary:

Nearly all microfluidic devices to date consist of some type of fully-enclosed microfluidic channel. The concept of ‘free-surface’ microfluidics has been pioneered at UCSB during the past several years, where at least one surface of the microchannel is exposed to the surrounding air. Surface tension is a dominating force at the micron scale, which can be used to control effectively fluid motion. There are a number of distinct advantages to the free surface microfluidic architecture. For example, the free surface provides a highly effective mechanism for capturing certain low-density vapor molecules. This mechanism is a key component (in combination with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, i.e. SERS) of a novel explosives vapor detection platform, which is capable of sub part-per-billion sensitivity with high specificity.