Three-dimensional fractal geometry for gas permeation in microchannels

Magdalena Malankowska, Stefan Schlautmann, Erwin J.W. Berenschot, Roald M. Tiggelaar, Maria Pilar Pina, Reyes Mallada* (Corresponding Author), Niels R. Tas, Han Gardeniers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The novel concept of a microfluidic chip with an integrated three-dimensional fractal geometry with nanopores, acting as a gas transport membrane, is presented. The method of engineering the 3D fractal structure is based on a combination of anisotropic etching of silicon and corner lithography. The permeation of oxygen and carbon dioxide through the fractal membrane is measured and validated theoretically. The results show high permeation flux due to low resistance to mass transfer because of the hierarchical branched structure of the fractals, and the high number of the apertures. This approach offers an advantage of high surface to volume ratio and pores in the range of nanometers. The obtained results show that the gas permeation through the nanonozzles in the form of fractal geometry is remarkably enhanced in comparison to the commonly-used polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) dense membrane. The developed chip is envisioned as an interesting alternative for gas-liquid contactors that require harsh conditions, such as microreactors or microdevices, for energy applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2018


  • Fractal geometry
  • Gas permeation
  • Integrated membrane chip
  • Nanonozzles
  • Corner lithography
  • UT-Gold-D

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