rising and fall time of microfluidic flow controllers

Piezo technology & pressure response

Piezo electric microfluidics flow control

Microfluidic flow control system ?

Microfluidic flow controllers are designed to control flows onto microfluidic chips. For most of researchers in the microfluidic field, responsiveness is an essential parameter for realizing on-chip tasks and optimizing the performance of a microfluidic setup.

The following graphics compare experiments done using the OB1 flow controller with experiments using other microfluidic flow controllers available on the market. With OB1 piezo technologies, you consistently  get fast microfluidic flow control with any sample volume.

The graphics below* show the reactivity of competing flow controllers for the best configuration of sample volume that we found (1mL) versus the reactivity of OB1 for a common microfluidic sample volume (12mL !)

*click to enlarge

Some definitions and explanations of response, rise & settling times

According to the IBM Dictionary of Computing (which cites as its source the International Organization for  Standardization’s Information Technology Vocabulary) and the US Federal Standard Glossary:
Responsiveness is the ability of an entity to provide service within the required time. Responsiveness thus determines the global ability of a system to reach a setting point. In a microfluidic setup, responsiveness depends on all the elements of the setup. For example, in the case of pressure controllers system, responsiveness depends on the volume of air to be pressurized.
To determine the performability of a microfluidic flow controller, the following time factors must be defined :

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The latency is the time interval between the initiation of a sent operation by a source task and the completion of the matching received operation by the target task. More generally, latency is the time delay between the moment an operation is initiated, and the moment it begins to take effect. In microfluidics, latency is the time needed by the microfluidic flow controller to simply react to the set order.

Processing Time

The processing time is the amount of time a system takes to process a given request. It does not include the time it takes the order to get from the user to the system. In microfluidics, processing time is the time needed between the reaction of the microfluidic flow controller and the first move in the setup.

Response Time

microfluidic flow control response time

The response time is the time a system or functional unit takes to react to a given input.

It corresponds to the elapsed time between the end of an inquiry on a system and the beginning of a response by the microfluidic flow controller.

In microfluidics, response time is the length of time between an indication of the start of flow and the display of the first change in flow at a user’s workstation (camera, sensor, monitoring station…).

In these terms:

Latency + Processing Time = Response Time

Rise Time

microfluidic flow control rise time

The rise time is the time a system takes to change from a specified low value to a specified high value. The rise time is defined as the time required for the response to go from x% to y% of the setting value. The 10% to 90% rise time is the one most commonly used.

In microfluidics, the rise time is the time needed to reach, commonly, from 10% to 90% of the setting flow.

Settling Time

microfluidic flow control settling time

The settling time is the time elapsed from the application of some flow to the time at which the flow has entered and remained within a specified error margin of the final value. The settling time includes the response time, plus the rise time and finally, the time needed to be within the specified error margin.

In microfluidics, the settling time is commonly defined as the time needed for the response of flow to reach and stay within a certain percentage range, usually 2% or 5% of the desired final value of the flow.


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