Application note How to perform fast drug or medium switch

Fast sample or medium switch – Real time video

How to perform an automated & fast sample switch in a perfusion chamber or microfluidic chip

Main applications:

Drug screening
Live cell imaging: calcium imaging, TIRF…

In this application note, we will describe how to perform an automated and fast medium switch thanks to the Perfusion Pack.

For more information about microfluidics and biology research, check our dedicated review.

Advantages of the setup presented in this application note for cell biology:

Controlled shear stress: flow rate and pressure are controlled, allowing a perfect control over the shear stress
Wide range of flow rates: depending on your application, very low to high flow rates are possible
Fast & automated medium or drug switch
Perfectly compatible with live cell imaging




Microfluidic perfusion pack for cell culture

This fully integrated solution includes all the necessary elements to easily perform cell biology on chip experiments


The Perfusion Pack has been designed to fit most common cell biology researchers needs. Whatever you need, feel free to contact us to discuss about your exact need and if necessary we will adapt the pack and chips to your particular research application.

  • Medium renewal without any pulsation
  • Flow rate: from 0.1 µL/min to 5 mL/min
  • Easily inject drugs or reagents
  • Compatible with all kinds of slides or perfusion chambers

Piezo electric microfluidics flow control

Perfusion Chamber

Microfluidic device or perfusion chamber

Setup diagram

The following diagram and pictures show the microfluidic setup used for this application note.


Pressure & Flow controller: Impose a given pressure in order to create a stable and pulseless flow rate.

Reservoirs: Contain your medium or samples. Various sizes are available, from Eppendorf to bottles.

Rotative valve: Select the injected liquid.

Flow Sensor: Monitor and control the flow rate in live time.

Perfusion chamber or microfluidic chip: Contains your cells. Compatible with microscopy.

Computer: Control all the parameters with our software, and automate your experiment by creating injection sequences.

You will find some pictures of the fluidic setup in the following gallery:

Sample switch for microfluidics setup 1

Sample switch for microfluidics setup 2

Protocol and results

The MUX distributor allows a simple control of the medium switch. You enter your different solutions inside the software and ask for which one to inject inside the chip. The rotative valve will select your medium in less than one second. If a flow sensor is used in the setup, the software automatically displays the volume of injected liquid for each sample.

Medium or sample switch on a microfluidic chip for biochemistry or flow chemistry

Need advice to do drug or medium switch?

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Your needs

Medium switch in a perfusion chamber

Medium switch in a microfluidic chip

The switch can be done by hand but can also be automated thanks to the sequences programmer of the Elveflow software. This allows to obtain a better reproducibility and to plan long experiments. In the following video, a switch every 3 seconds between two liquids has been programmed. Note that no perturbation or air bubble have been introduced during the medium switches.

Medium swich with microfluidic flow controller sequence programming 3


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