Microfluidic sputum homogenizer driven by water-head pressure

Korakot Boonyaphon, Zhenglin Li, Geunyong Kim, Chae Seung Lim, Sung Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Homogenizing organism distribution in sputum samples is an initial, yet crucial step to diagnose pulmonary diseases with the samples. Although a homogenization platform for a diagnostic system needs to be system-compatible and efficient, it is rarely implemented. Here, we present a pulsatile micromixer for sputum homogenization that is efficient and does not use dynamic external controllers. The device consists of three oscillator and one mixer units. The oscillator unit autonomously converts a constant input of water-head pressure to a pulsatile pressure, and the mixer unit utilizes this pressure to homogeneously mix two solutions. The mixing performance is analyzed with different oscillation frequencies and width of mixer membranes. The device implemented homogeneous micromixing with a 9 Hz pulse for a flow rate up to 350 μL/min and approximately 200 μL/min for 1 cP and 10 cP viscosity solutions, respectively. Importantly, the device demonstrated successful homogenization of sputum samples with cell viabilities similar to those of the standard method for the flow rate up to 100 μL/min, thereby exhibiting biocompatibility with clinical samples. Our device is potentially useful for various lab-on-a-chip applications that require the compatibility of system integration without sacrificing mixing efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 20

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIP) ( NRF-2016R1A5A1010148 , 2017R1A2B4005955 ) and was authored as part of Konkuk University’s research support program for faculty on sabbatical leave in 2018.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • High-viscosity mixing
  • Micromixer
  • Pulsatile flow
  • Sputum homogenization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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