Lab-on-a-Chip – Microflowsense

Subproject ISAT: Acoustic sensor for flow measurement in thin tubes at low flow velocities for cell assay applications

Support programme: ZIM

Time frame: 01.04.2020 – 31.03.2022

Cell culture assays are essential in basic and preclinical research, as they can be used to investigate the effects of pharmaceutical substances, among other things. Many cell culture experiments are carried out in microfluidic systems in order to enable cell cultivation under flow conditions similar to blood circulation. However, different cell types react very sensitively to varying or excessive media flow, so that precise flow measurement procedures are required for small volumes, which are also not in direct contact with the fluids, in order to categorically rule out a loss of sterility through cross-contamination. The project focuses on the development of a non-invasive flow measurement method based on ultrasound, which also enables the measurement of very low flow rates in very thin tubes. The core innovation is a clamp-on construction designed for 0.5-1.6 mm thick tubing with annular sound transducers that can be used to excite longitudinal waves in the direction of the tubing in order to measure even low flow rates of 50 µl/min. In order to create defined conditions, an innovative system for exact temperature control of the pump tubes is to be developed in the project.