Creation of concentration gradients is important in the study of biological and chemical processes that are sensitive to concentration variations. This paper presents a simple method to generate a linear concentration gradient in electroosmotic flow in microchannels with converging and diverging geometries. The method is based on the enhanced diffusive mixing inside the microchannel. By varying the converging-diverging geometries, the degree of diffusive mixing can be controlled. Different concentration gradients can be obtained by varying the applied potential and the geometry. Concentration profiles with minimal axial variations can be achieved with a deviation of 7% and 3% over a channel length of 3mm and 1mm, respectively, for a 400μm wide microchannel. Although the underlying physics and mechanisms for creating concentration profiles in a converging-diverging microchannel are the same as a T-shaped micromixer, the converging-diverging microchannel can produce desired concentration profiles in a much shorter distance (shorter by a factor of 2∼3.5 compared to a T-shape mixer). A serially connected concentration gradient generator is also realized with the ability to generate two concentration gradient ranges in the same microchannel. Numerical simulations and experiments were carried out to investigate the factors contributed to the generation of the concentration gradients.

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