Chaotic mixing in three-dimensional microvascular networks fabricated by direct-write assembly

Nat Mater. 2003 Apr;2(4):265-71. doi: 10.1038/nmat863.


The creation of geometrically complex fluidic devices is a subject of broad fundamental and technological interest. Here, we demonstrate the fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) microvascular networks through direct-write assembly of a fugitive organic ink. This approach yields a pervasive network of smooth cylindrical channels (approximately 10-300 microm) with defined connectivity. Square-spiral towers, isolated within this vascular network, promote fluid mixing through chaotic advection. These vertical towers give rise to dramatic improvements in mixing relative to simple straight (1D) and square-wave (2D) channels while significantly reducing the device planar footprint. We envisage that 3D microvascular networks will provide an enabling platform for a wide array of fluidic-based applications.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Epoxy Resins / chemistry*
  • Equipment Design
  • Ink*
  • Materials Testing / methods*
  • Microchemistry / instrumentation*
  • Microchemistry / methods
  • Microcirculation
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Miniaturization
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation*
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Rheology / instrumentation*
  • Rheology / methods
  • Robotics


  • Epoxy Resins