Electrorheological Fluid and Its Applications in Microfluidics

Top Curr Chem. 2011;304:91-115. doi: 10.1007/128_2011_148.


Microfluidics is a low-cost technique for fast-diagnosis and microsynthesis. Within a decade it might become the foundation of point-of-care and lab-on-a-chip applications. With microfluidic chips, high-throughput sample screening and information processing are made possible. The picoliter droplet runs in microfluidic chips are ideal miniaturized vessels for microdetection and microsynthesis. Meanwhile, individual manipulation of microdroplets remains a challenge: the shortcomings in automatic, reliable, and scalable methods for logic control prevent further integration of microfluidic applications. The giant electrorheological fluid (GERF), which is a kind of "smart" colloid, has tunable viscosity under the influence of external electric field. Therefore, GERF is introduced as the active controlling medium, with real-time response in on-chip fluid control. This review article introduces the working principles and fabrication methods of different types of electrorheological fluid, and extensively describes the strategies of GERF-assisted microfluidic controlling schemes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electrochemical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Electrochemical Techniques / methods*
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidics / methods*
  • Models, Theoretical*