How to perform an ultra-fast microfluidic medium switch with an Elveflow® OB1 and an Elveflow® MUX

SET-UP TIME : 10-15 MIN / DIFFICULTY : *****


This application note shows how to perform an ultrafast microfluidic medium switch (drugs, samples, etc) in an hypothetic chemical or biological environment, performed with an Elveflow® OB1 and an Elveflow® MUX as shown in these pictures:Microfluidic fast medium switch

We propose another configuration (using only an Elveflow OB1) to perform a fast flow switch. Click here to see the Application Note.

We also recommend to see the following review comparing the two configurations (OB1 or OB1+MUX).

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Set-Up Diagram

These pictures show the microfluidic setup that will be used in this application note.

Microfluidic fast medium switch (OB1+MUX) Full setup

Microfluidic fast medium switch (OB1+MUX) Setup

As often as possible avoid using soft tubing (like Tygon) which involves compliance and then increases the response time of the system.
If you’re not familiar with microfluidic tubings, you may read our dedicated tutorials.

The following diagram illustrates the complete chain of elements involved in this application note. You will need to assemble all these parts to set up your experiment: Microfluidic fast medium switch (OB1+MUX) Diagram


Using the Elveflow® smart interface to perform an ultrafast medium switch:

Make sure that all the cables and tubing are well connected to your Elveflow devices (USB cable, 24V DC, etc).

Perform leakage tests and remove any air bubbles before starting your experiment to ensure a good flow regulation.
Knowing what fitting is best suited for your needs is a first step towards success. If you’re not familiar with microfluidic fittings, you may read our specific tutorials.

In order to monitor the pressure to perform an ultrafast medium switch, it is necessary to follow the next steps:

  • Step 1 – Open the Elveflow® smart interface on the computer and select the MUX. (“MUXS1” in the example case).
  • Step 2 – Open the three valves where the three mediums are connected and press “Apply” (D1, D2 and D3 in the example case).
  • Step 3 - Select the OB1 (“OB1Mix01” in the example case) and set an initial desired pressure rate value in mbar for each one of the three different mediums (130 mbar in the example case) on the pertinent channels (channels 1, 2 and 3 in the example case).
  • Step 4 – Increase or decrease the pressure rate on the different channels until finding the equilibrium on the three mediums (the three mediums will converge and pass through the main channel without mixing with a laminar flow) (See the picture on the gallery below)

These equilibrium pressure rates will ideally not be far from being the same or very similar on the three channels but it will depend on different factors, such as the different density of the mediums used, the different resistivity of the setup (the number and type of connectors, the length of tubing used, etc).

  • Step 5 – Once the equilibrium pressure rates have been set, select back the MUX. Then press the button “sequential -> on” and configure the combination of valves that will be open or closed with the desired length (4 seconds on the example case).
  • Step 6 – Repeat “Step 4” for the other mediums by clicking on the “+” button or by adding the step to a project.
  • Step 7 – Press the “Apply” or “Play” button in each case to start performing the project.

The screenshots corresponding to these steps are in the following gallery:

Congratulations! You can now perform an ultra-fast medium switch using an Elveflow® OB1 and an Elveflow® MUX!


We  provide the only microfluidic flow control system using Piezo technology that enables a blazing fast flow change in your microdevice.

Piezo electric microfluidics flow control