Chaotic Mixer for Microchannels

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Science  25 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5555, pp. 647-651
DOI: 10.1126/science.1066238

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It is difficult to mix solutions in microchannels. Under typical operating conditions, flows in these channels are laminar—the spontaneous fluctuations of velocity that tend to homogenize fluids in turbulent flows are absent, and molecular diffusion across the channels is slow. We present a passive method for mixing streams of steady pressure-driven flows in microchannels at low Reynolds number. Using this method, the length of the channel required for mixing grows only logarithmically with the Péclet number, and hydrodynamic dispersion along the channel is reduced relative to that in a simple, smooth channel. This method uses bas-relief structures on the floor of the channel that are easily fabricated with commonly used methods of planar lithography.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: stroock{at}, gwhitesides{at}

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