Measure the flow through a FluidFM probe

What does the flow depend of?

The flow trough a FluidFM probe depends of several parameters 

  • The applied pressure: A higher pressure means higher flow
  • The liquid in the probe: High viscosity makes the flow smaller
  • The opening of the probe: Only openings below 500 nm have an influence on the flow, before that the flow is dominated by the resistance of the probe channel.
  • The surface tension: Due to the surface tension, a large offset pressure is necessary to dispense water in air, or even oil in water.
  • (check the theory section in this support center for more details):

A method to measure the flow through the FluidFM probe is presented in the supporting material of this article, where we tracked single fluorescent nanobeads through the channel of a FluidFM probe with varying pressure. (See also the PDF at the end of this article):

Video: Particle tracking in the FluidFM probe

The video shows the nanobeads flowing through the FluidFM channel. The stabilization pillars in the channel are clearly visible as well.

Typical water flow through a FluidFM probe

The water flow through a FluidFM cantilever in liquid buffer is determined by the probe type and the application, which can give an additional resistance to the flow and hence reduce it significantly:

Probe Application Flow
FluidFM Micro Pipette Free flow/Lithography ~ 160 fL/(s mbar)
FluidFM Nano Pipette Free flow ~ 20 fL/(s mbar)
  Lithography with tight contact < 4 fL/(s mbar)
 FluidFM Rapid Prototype Probe Injection < 1 fL/(s mbar)


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