A nanoliter-scale open chemical reactor

J.C. Galas , A.M. Haghiri-Gosnet , A. Estevez-Torres

Bibtex , URL
Lab Chip, 13, 3
Published 01 Jan. 2013
DOI: 10.1039/c2lc40649g
ISSN: 1473-0197


An open chemical reactor is a container that exchanges matter with the exterior. Well-mixed open chemical reactors, called continuous stirred tank reactors (CSTR), have been instrumental for investigating the dynamics of out-of-equilibrium chemical processes, such as oscillations, bistability, and chaos. Here, we introduce a microfluidic CSTR, called mu CSTR, that reduces reagent consumption by six orders of magnitude. It consists of an annular reactor with four inlets and one outlet fabricated in PDMS using multi-layer soft lithography. A monolithic peristaltic pump feeds fresh reagents into the reactor through the inlets. After each injection the content of the reactor is continuously mixed with a second peristaltic pump. The efficiency of the mCSTR is experimentally characterized using a bromate, sulfite, ferrocyanide pH oscillator. Simulations accounting for the digital injection process are in agreement with experimental results. The low consumption of the mCSTR will be advantageous for investigating out-of-equilibrium dynamics of chemical processes involving biomolecules. These studies have been scarce so far because a miniaturized version of a CSTR was not available.