Microfluidic devices have grown significantly in the number of applications. Microfabrication techniques have evolved considerably; however, electric stimulation systems for microdevices have not advanced at the same pace. Electric stimulation of micro-fluidic devices is an important element in particle manipulation research. A flexible stimulation instrument is desired to perform configurable, repeatable, automated, and reliable experiments by allowing users to select the stimulation parameters. The instrument presented here is a configurable and programmable stimulation system for electrokinetic-driven microfluidic devices; it consists of a processor, a memory system, and a user interface to deliver several types of waveforms and stimulation patterns. It has been designed to be a flexible, highly configurable, low power instrument capable of delivering sine, triangle, and sawtooth waveforms with one single frequency or two superimposed frequencies ranging from 0.01 Hz to 40 kHz, and an output voltage of up to 30 V pp. A specific stimulation pattern can be delivered over a single time period or as a sequence of different signals for different time periods. This stimulation system can be applied as a research tool where manipulation of particles suspended in liquid media is involved, such as biology, medicine, environment, embryology, and genetics. This system has the potential to lead to new schemes for laboratory procedures by allowing application specific and user defined electric stimulation. The development of this device is a step towards portable and programmable instrumentation for electric stimulation on electrokinetic-based microfluidic devices, which are meant to be integrated with lab-on-a-chip devices.
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