A hybrid microfluidic platform for energy harvesting based on piezoelectricity and reverse electrowetting for wearable biosensors

Sobianin, Ihor; Tourlidakis, Antonios and Psoma, Sotiria (2021). A hybrid microfluidic platform for energy harvesting based on piezoelectricity and reverse electrowetting for wearable biosensors. In: 31 Anniversary World Congress on Biosensors - Biosensors 2021, 26-29 Jul 2021, Online Conference (UK).

URL: https://www.elsevier.com/events/conferences/world-...


The continuous monitoring of human biomarkers in wearable biosensors requires constant energy supply and the usage of batteries introduces a number of limitations. A self-rechargeable biosensor would prove to be beneficial and vital in a timely medical diagnosis and prevention of health implications. This study explores the proof of concept of a novel microfluidics platform of simultaneous harvesting energy from an arterial wall pulsation through piezoelectricity and from the reverse electrowetting on dielectric (REWOD) phenomenon. Both physical principles are successfully employed in conventional designs as separate actuating and sensory units, yet their combined incorporation is often overlooked. A designed hybrid droplet microfluidics platform utilizes piezoelectric films to react to perturbations caused by pulsation of arteries and to press down droplets while electrodes around the microchannel collect energy from deformed droplets. This hybrid approach allows enhanced energy harvesting. A commercial multi-physics based Computational Fluid Dynamics (COMSOL) software was used to verify the posited hypothesis and to carry out a set of time-varying flow simulations with parametric variation of a number of physical and geometrical parameters. As a result, the interrelations between various physical parameters of the designed system, such as viscosity, surface tension, flow velocity, frequency and amplitude of pressure variations occurring on microchannel walls, droplet properties, droplet number and distribution, wetting and de-wetting frequency etc, were investigated and correlated with the produced electrical generation aiming towards its maximisation. The design and control of microfluidic parameters are highly important for the optimised performance of the prototype device. Furthermore, based on the analysis and quantification of the extracted energy results, a number of design recommendations are provided and a forecast of potential applications and innovations such as wearable and implantable biosensors, continuous monitoring of medical conditions for personalized medicine is outlined.

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