Precise nanoliter fluid handling system with integrated high-speed flow sensor

Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2005 Apr;3(2):203-12. doi: 10.1089/adt.2005.3.203.


A system for accurate low-volume delivery of liquids in the micro- to nanoliter range makes use of an integrated miniature flow sensor as part of an intelligent feedback control loop driving a micro-solenoid valve. The flow sensor is hydraulically connected with the pressurized system liquid in the dispensing channel and located downstream from the pressure source, above the solenoid valve. The sensor operates in a differential mode and responds in real-time to the internal flow-pulse resulting from the brief opening interval of the solenoid valve leading to a rapid ejection of a fluid droplet. The integral of the flow-pulse delivered by the sensor is directly proportional to the volume of the ejected droplet from the nozzle. The quantitative information is utilized to provide active control of the effectively dispensed or aspirated volume by adjusting the solenoid valve accordingly. This process significantly enhances the precision of the fluid delivery. The system furthermore compensates automatically for any changes in the viscosity of the dispensed liquid. The data delivered by the flow sensor can be saved and backtracked in order to confirm and validate the aspiration and dispensing process in its entirety. The collected dispense information can be used for quality control assessments and automatically be made part of an electronic record.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay / instrumentation
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Electronics
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Flow Injection Analysis / instrumentation*
  • Flow Injection Analysis / methods
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Microchemistry / instrumentation*
  • Microchemistry / methods
  • Microchip Analytical Procedures / methods
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods
  • Miniaturization
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation*
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Rheology / instrumentation*
  • Rheology / methods
  • Specimen Handling / instrumentation*
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Systems Integration
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical
  • Transducers