A new approach to trap air bubbles before they enter microfluidic systems is presented. The bubble trap is based on the combined interaction of surface tension and hydrodynamic forces. The design is simple, easy to fabricate and straightforward to use. The trap is made of tubes of different sizes and can easily be integrated into any microfluidic setup. We describe the general working principle and derive a simple theoretical model to explain the trapping. Furthermore, the natural oscillations of trapped air bubbles created in this system are explained and quantified in terms of bubble displacement over time and oscillation frequency. These oscillations may be exploited as a basis for fluidic oscillators in future microfluidic systems.
Stuckiab, Janick D., Olivier T. Guenat