A versatile plug microvalve for microfluidic applications

Creative Commons License

Guler M. T., Beyazkilic P., Elbuken C.

SENSORS AND ACTUATORS A-PHYSICAL, vol.265, pp.224-230, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 265
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.sna.2017.09.001
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.224-230
  • Keywords: Valve, Microvalve, Portable microfluidics, Colorimetric TNT assay, VALVES, MICROCHIP, SYSTEMS, PHASE
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


Most of the available microvalves include complicated fabrication steps and multiple materials. We present a microvalve which is inspired from macroplug valves. The plug microvalve is fabricated by boring a hole through a rigid cylindrical rod and inserting it through a microfluidic chip. It simply functions by rotating the rod which aligns or misaligns the valve port with the microchannel. The rod is made up of a rigid material for applying the valve to an elastic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microchannel. The valve can also be used for a rigid channel by inserting the rod into an elastic tubing. Therefore, the presented microvalve can be used for both elastomeric and thermoplastic channels. The plug microvalve can be applied to a prefabricated microchannel and does not require modification of the mold design. We have verified the repeatability and robustness of the valve by repetitive operation cycles using a servo motor. The plug microvalve is adaptable to numerous microfluidic applications. We have shown three modes of operation for the microvalve including fluid flow control across multiple intersecting channels. Integrating the microvalve to some commonly used microfluidic designs, we demonstrated the versatility and the practicality of the microvalve for controlling flow focusing, microdroplet sorting and rapid chemical agent detection. This low-cost microvalve significantly minimizes the prototyping time for microfluidic systems. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.