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Actively Driven Light-Addressable Sensor/Actuator System for Automated pH Control for the Integration in Lab-On-A-Chip (LoC) Platforms

  • Welden, Rene;
  • Das, Anirban;
  • Krause, Steffi;
  • Schoening, Michael J.;
  • Wagner, Patrick H.; 7368;
  • Wagner, Torsten;
Publication Date
Mar 06, 2024
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The miniaturization of microfluidic systems usually comes at the cost of more difficult integration of sensors and actuators inside the channel. As an alternative, this work demonstrates the embedding of semiconductor-based sensor and actuator technologies that can be spatially and temporally controlled from outside the channel using light. The first element is a light-addressable potentiometric sensor, consisting of an Al/Si/SiO2/Si3N4 structure, that can measure pH changes at the Si3N4/electrolyte interface. The pH value is a crucial factor in biological and chemical systems, and besides measuring, it is often important to bring the system out of equilibrium or to adjust and control precisely the surrounding medium. This can be done photoelectrocatalytically by utilizing light-addressable electrodes. These consist of a glass/SnO2:F/TiO2 structure, whereby direct charge transfer between the TiO2 and the electrolyte leads to a pH change upon irradiation. To complement the advantages of both, we integrated a light-addressable sensor with a pH sensitivity of 41.5 mV·pH-1 and a light-addressable electrode into a microfluidic setup. Here, we demonstrated a simultaneous operation with the ability to generate and record pH gradients inside a channel under static and dynamic flow conditions. The results show that dependent on the light-addressable electrode (LAE)-illumination conditions, pH changes up to ΔpH of 2.75 and of 3.52 under static and dynamic conditions, respectively, were spatially monitored by the light-addressable potentiometric sensor. After flushing with fresh buffer solution, the pH returned to its initial value. Depending on the LAE illumination, pH gradients with a maximum pH change of ΔpH of 1.42 were tailored perpendicular to the flow direction. In a final experiment, synchronous LAE illumination led to a stepwise increase in the pH inside the channel. / status: published

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