Microscopic origin of wall slip during flow of an entangled DNA solution in microfluidics: Flow induced chain stretching versus chain desorption

Orin Hemminger, Pouyan E. Boukany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the relevance and importance of slip, a fundamental understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of wall slip in polymer flow is still missing. In this work, we investigate the slip behavior of an entangled DNA solution at a molecular scale using a confocal microscope coupled to a microfluidic device. From microscopic measurement, we obtain both the velocity profile and conformation of polymeric chains by visualizing DNA molecules during flow on various surfaces (ranging from weak to strong interactions with DNA molecules). In channel flow at a low Weissenberg number (Wi= 0.14), we observe a parabolic flow for an APTES-treated glass (with strong interaction with DNA) in the absence of slip, while a significant amount of slip has been observed for a regular glass (with a weak interaction with DNA). At higher flow rates (Wi > 1.0), strong slip appears during flow on APTES-treated surfaces. In this case, only immobile DNA molecules are stretched on the surface and other bulk chains remain coiled. This observation suggests that the flow induced chain stretching at the interface is the main mechanism of slip during flow on strong surfaces. Conversely, for slip flow on surfaces with weak interactions (such as unmodified or acrylate-modified glasses), polymeric chains are desorbed from the surface and a thin layer of water is present near the surface, which induces an effective slip during flow. By imaging DNA conformations during both channel and shear flows on different surfaces, we elucidate that either chain desorption or flow-induced stretching of adsorbed chains occurs depending on the surface condition. In general, we expect that these new insights into the slip phenomenon will be useful for studying the biological flow involving single DNA molecule experiments in micro/nanofluidic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044118
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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