Valve controlled fluorescence detection system for remote sensing applications

T. D. James, M. G. Scullion, P. C. Ashok, A. Di Falco, K. Dholakia, T. F. Krauss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate a microfluidics-based fluorescence detection device where the filters, source, detector, and electronically controlled valves are embedded into a Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based microfluidic chip. The device reported here has been specifically designed for chlorophyll a fluorescence sensing in autonomous systems, such as oceanic applications. In contrast to a monolithic approach, the modular approach made the fabrication of this device simpler and cheaper. For fluorescence detection, an InGaN/GaN LED is used as the excitation source to specifically excite chlorophyll a; a metal-dielectric Fabry- Perot filter was used to extinguish out-of-band excitation. A simple Si photodiode is used as detector and provided with a thermally evaporated CdS emission filter to block the excitation source. This filter combination provides an excellent solution to the difficult problem of combining high-rejection excitation and emission filters in an integrated thin-film format. Furthermore, the metal-dielectric filter provides a much broader angular response than a comparable multilayer Bragg mirror, which is a key advantage in the integrated format. We use a novel paraffin wax-based valve design affords low power single-use actuation, between 0.5 and 1 J per actuation and withstands 0.6 bar differential pressure, which provides better performance than its previously reported counterparts. The remote valve-controlled operation of the fluorescence detection system is demonstrated, illustrating the measurement of a chlorophyll a solution, with a detection limit of 340 μM and subsequent valve-controlled flushing of the measurement reservoir.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-536
Number of pages8
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We gratefully acknowledge funding for the project through EPSRC EP/F020589/1, and Andrea Di Falco is supported by an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship (EP/I004602/1). We also acknowledge the helpful discussions with Dr Bernie McConnell, Dr Ailsa Hall and Prof Mike Fedak from the Sea Mammal Research Unit in the School of Biology at the University of St Andrews.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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