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Research Article

Self-powered microfluidic device for the colorimetric detection of lithium via sequential reagent mixing

Angelo Traina1,2, Han J.G.E. Gardeniers1, Burcu Gumuscu1,3,4

1Mesoscale Chemical Systems Group, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

2Department Information Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

3BioInterface Science Group, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

4Biosensors and Devices Group, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands



Lithium detection;

 Colorimetric detection; 

Microfluidic circuits; 

Finger-driven pump.

Continuous monitoring of lithium concentration fluctuations in blood plasma is essential for patients with bipolar disorder and manic depression since lithium has a low therapeutic index. While blood plasma concentrations between 0.4 and 1.0 mmol/L are considered to be in the therapeutic zone, the concentrations exceeding 1.3 mmol/L are toxic to the patients. Most of the point-of-care devices for lithium monitoring have bulky peripherals and require extensive operator handling, yet simple-to-use devices are in demand for 2–5% of the worldwide population receiving lithium therapy. This paper aims to develop a self-contained microfluidic device to run colorimetric lithium assays without the need for dedicated personnel or equipment. In the developed microchip, the assay reagents are mixed in sequential order via custom-designed microfluidic capillary circuits with the aid of a finger pump. The operation of the finger pump was characterized mathematically and demonstrated experimentally. The finger-driven pump achieved 45.9 mm/s flow velocity when 8.3 µL liquid was placed in a 160 mm long channel with 200 µm height, as such rapid triggering was a requirement for the colorimetric lithium test. The final device is able to quantify the lithium concentrations between 0 and 2.0 mM using a smartphone camera. The detection limit of this microchip was calculated as 0.1 mM. This device presents a portable alternative to on-site quantitative detection techniques with bulky and expensive tools.

© 2021 MIM Research Group. All rights reserved.


8/12/2023 Special Issue: Embark on a journey of innovation with the journal of Research on Engineering Structures and Materials as we unveil a compelling opportunity for contributors in our upcoming special issue, "Design, Analysis, and Manufacturing of Composite Vehicle Structures." Led by distinguished Guest Editors Liubov Gavva and Oleg Mitrofanov from Moscow Aviation Institute. For more info see the link.

21/10/2023 Journal Submission System Upgrade Completed: We're delighted to announce that our Journal Submission and Tracking System has undergone a significant upgrade, aimed at enhancing your experience. We apologize for the delay, and any inconvenience it may have caused. Here are the key enhancements from a user perspective:

Improvements are designed to make your interaction with our journal smoother and more efficient. Please take the upgraded system for a spin and share your thoughts with us. If you encounter any issues or have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support team.

27/12/2022 Reviewer AwardsThe winners of 2022 reviewer awards of Research on Engineering Structures and Materials (RESM) are announced. More information can be found at Reviewer Awards section. 

(More details of the news may be given in the News section)

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2022 Reviewer Awards:

Please, visit Reviewer Awards section for the winners of the 2022 RESM reviewer awards.

2022 Best Paper Award:

The paper authored by Nitin Kumar, Michele Barbato, Erika L. Rengifo-López and Fabio Matta entitled as “Capabilities and limitations of existing finite element simplified micro-modeling techniques for unreinforced masonry” is awarded the 

2022 Most Cited Paper Award:

The paper authored by Aykut Elmas, Güliz Akyüz, Ayhan Bergal, Müberra Andaç and Ömer Andaç entitled as “Mathematical modelling of drug release" is awarded the


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