Functional hydrogel structures for autonomous flow control inside microfluidic channels

David J. Beebe, Jeffrey S. Moore, Joseph M. Bauer, Qing Yu, Robin H. Liu, Chelladurai Devadoss, Byung Ho Jo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydrogels have been developed to respond to a wide variety of stimuli, but their use in macroscopic systems has been hindered by slow response times (diffusion being the rate-limiting factor governing the swelling process). However, there are many natural examples of chemically driven actuation that rely on short diffusion paths to produce a rapid response. It is therefore expected that scaling down hydrogel objects to the micrometre scale should greatly improve response times. At these scales, stimuli-responsive hydrogels could enhance the capabilities of microfluidic systems by allowing self- regulated flow control. Here we report the fabrication of active hydrogel components inside microchannels via direct photopatterning of a liquid phase. Our approach greatly simplifies system construction and assembly as the functional components are fabricated in situ, and the stimuli-responsive hydrogel components perform both sensing and actuation functions. We demonstrate significantly improved response times (less than 10 seconds) in hydrogel valves capable of autonomous control of local flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-590
Number of pages3
Issue number6778
StatePublished - Apr 6 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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