Micro Milled Microfluidic Photoionization Detector for Volatile Organic Compounds

Micromachines (Basel). 2019 Mar 30;10(4):228. doi: 10.3390/mi10040228.


Government regulations and environmental conditions are pushing the development of improved miniaturized gas analyzers for volatile organic compounds. One of the many detectors used for gas analysis is the photoionization detector (PID). This paper presents the design and characterization of a microfluidic photoionization detector (or µPID) fabricated using micro milling and electrical discharge machining techniques. This device has no glue and facilitates easy replacement of components. Two materials and fabrication techniques are proposed to produce a layer on the electrodes to protect from ultraviolet (UV) light and possible signal noise generation. Three different microchannels are tested experimentally and their results are compared. The channel with highest electrode area (31.17 mm²) and higher volume (6.47 µL) produces the highest raw signal and the corresponding estimated detection limit is 0.6 ppm for toluene without any amplification unit.

Keywords: microfabrication; microfluidics; photoionization detector; toluene; volatile organic compound (VOC) detection.