Reliable Multi-Way Fluidic Connections for Microfluidic Systems – Multiflux® from Dolomite

By AZoNano

Table of Contents

Introduction
Multiflux Microfluidic Connectors and Interfaces
Applications of Multiflux Microfluidic Connectors and Interfaces
     Connections to Gas Chromatography chips
     Valve manifolds
     Tube-to-Tube Connections
     Fluid Dispensing Robot Heads
Conclusion
About Dolomite

Introduction

Researchers and engineers are facing the following challenges when working with microfluidic connections:

  • Compact and reusable solution
  • Simple yet robust solution that enables tube-to-tube, tube-to-chip and tube-to-manifold connections
  • Multi-way connections enabling interconnection of several tubes at once in a high-density format
  • Quick solution that enables making and breaking reliable and leak-free connections in seconds
  • User-friendly solution enabling time-efficient assembly without the requirement for extra tools

If these challenges are not handled well, then they may negate the advantages of working within the microfluidic regime and more amount of research time will be wasted on time consuming assembly and resolving leaks. Multiflux®, a proven range of microfluidic connectors and interfaces from Dolomite, can address these challenges.

Multiflux Microfluidic Connectors and Interfaces

Multiflux is a unique solution from Dolomite for people working with microfluidic systems. This industry-leading range of microfluidic connectors and interfaces facilitates the rapid and easy interconnection between a variety of fluidic systems and / or bundles of tubing without affecting the fluid flow. Multiflux is specially designed to be easily incorporated into any microfluidic system, thus helping users to address their interconnection challenges by enabling chip-to-chip, tube-to-tube, tube-to-chip, and tube-to-manifold connections.

Figure 1. The Multiflux® range of connectors and interfaces for microfluidics

This article discusses the advantages of Multiflux Connectors and Interfaces in creating rapid and reliable multi-way fluidic connections between many different fluidic modules in a variety of applications.

Applications of Multiflux Microfluidic Connectors and Interfaces

The following are the applications of Multiflux microfluidic connectors and interfaces:

Connections to Gas Chromatography chips

Gas Chromatography (GC) is a highly sensitive chemical analysis method that has found use in a myriad of applications. Nevertheless, prevailing commercial GC systems are typically quite bulky and fragile and require miniaturization to further increase their adoption.

At present, there is a limited choice of reliable solutions available for connecting tubes to GC chips. Multiflux addresses this issue by offering a reliable and compact solution which uses less surface area on the chip when compared to conventional solutions.

The user-friendly Multiflux Linear Connectors are capable of connecting and precisely aligning up to 24 fluid tubes at once. In Figure 2, a Multiflux Linear Connector 4-way connects 4 PEEK tubes to a glass microfluidic chip’s top surface. After engaging with the surface interface, the Multiflux Connector forms a fluidic seal and perfectly aligns the PEEK tubes and fluid holes on the chip.

Connection and disconnection of the Multilfux Connector and the PEEK tubes can be easily and rapidly performed without using extra tools.

Figure 2. Multiflux® 4-way linear connector from Dolomite

Valve manifolds

Valve manifolds are utilized in a variety of applications that require the routing of liquids or gases from one input to multiple outputs or vice versa. Solenoid valves are generally placed onto the manifold and fluid tubes are attached utilizing an array of threaded fittings and ferrules, which take up a larger area and involve a time-intensive configuration and problem of sealing.

On the other hand, Multiflux Linear Connectors facilitates rapid connection and disconnection of a bundle of tubes and/or individual tubes at reduced cost per connection and reduced pitch between tubes, which enables smaller manifolds and higher density connections. A valve manifold connection through the use of Multiflux Linear Connector 8-way is illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Multiflux® 8-way linear connector from Dolomite

Tube-to-Tube Connections

Conventional solutions for tube-to-tube connections include ferrules, fittings, unions which are not easy to assemble and leak-free connection is often a challenge while utilizing multiple unions. Multiflux addresses this issue by offering a flexible and time-efficient solution.

The Multiflux In-line Interfaces enable in-line connection and disconnection of as high as 24 tubes at the same time. Figure 4 shows a stack of six Multiflux Interfaces are assembled to allow for making 144 fluid connections across an area of 55 mm x 50mm.

Figure 4. Multiflux® 24-way linear connectors from Dolomite, stacked to allow 144 simultaneous connections

The density of fluid connections per unit area is much greater when compared to what is achievable with threaded fittings and ferrules. This type of connector has found use in applications such as parallel sample processing and analysis.

Fluid Dispensing Robot Heads

Fluid dispensing robots often feature multiple nozzles (cannulas) to facilitate concurrent fluid dispensing to multiple locations on a wellplate. Multiflux Linear Connector offers a compact and reliable solution to connect the robot head to a bundle of tubes as illustrated in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Multiflux® 8-way linear connector from Dolomite

The Linear Connector 8-way is directly linked to the robot head. The perfluoroelastomer seal on the Linear Connector 8-way is chemically inert and has very low dead volume, making it ideal for many different applications. It is also possible to customize the Multiflux connector to match the number of nozzles required and match the pitch between nozzles. The minimum pitch that can be achieved with a Multiflux Linear Connector is twofold the tube diameter, which is considerably below the minimum possible pitch with threaded nuts and ferrules.

Conclusion

From the aforementioned examples, it is clear that Multiflux offers a compact, rapid and reliable solution to people dealing with microfluidic systems and multi-way fluidic connections by providing the following benefits:

  • Quick and user friendly - Multiflux enables users to create and break reliable and leak-free connections within seconds without using any extra tools
  • Flexible solution – It is possible to position Multiflux Connectors on the edge or top surface of a chip.
  • Reusable - All Multiflux Connectors and Interfaces can be repeatedly used with multiple chips.
  • Chemical compatibility - All Multiflux components have resistance to chemicals such as bases, acids, and organic solvents.
  • Multi-way connections - Multiflux allows for interconnection of many tubes simultaneously in a high-density format.

About Dolomite

Microfluidics, also known as “lab-on-a-chip”, enables small scale fluid control and analysis, and is an emerging technology that is changing the future of instrument design. Connecting microfluidic devices to macro-scale systems presents many challenges. To help ensure success, Dolomite provides several microfluidic solutions including chips, pumps, flow sensors and other microfluidic accessories.

In addition to the wide range of standard components, Dolomite also offers the design, development and manufacturing of bespoke solutions, including custom devices, turnkey solutions and fully automated systems.

By combining specialist glass, quartz and ceramic technologies with knowledge of high performance microfluidics, Dolomite is able to provide solutions for a broad range of industries enabling manufacturers to develop more compact, cost-effective and powerful instruments.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Dolomite.

For more information on this source, please visit Dolomite.

Date Added: Jun 3, 2013 | Updated: Jun 11, 2013
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