Liquid Plug Motion Noninvasive Detecting in Opaque Microchannels via Grating Electrodes-Based Liquid-Solid Nanogenerator

Nannan Zhao, Hengxu Du, Meng Zou, Ziyue Xi, Hengyi Yang, Bowen Dong, Yawei Wang, Hongyong Yu, Ruijiang Xu, Fangyang Dong, Huiwen Wang, Minyi Xu; Advanced Materials Technologies.


The precision in controlling fluid flow is crucial for the efficiency of microchannel devices. Consequently, it is essential to monitor the fluid within microchannels in real time. However, the microchannel flow's susceptibility to disturbance and small size present challenges in sensing. A Liquid-Solid Triboelectric Nanogenerator (TENG) with grating electrodes is proposed for non-invasive sensing of liquid plug movements in microchannels and is suitable for use with opaque channels. This sensor operates on the principle of initiating multiple pulse signals via grating electrodes. And analyze the motion of the liquid plug by the time difference between the signal peaks. It facilitates the measurement of liquid plug count, average speed, average acceleration, and the detection of flow direction. The liquid plug counters, and flow direction sensors yielded clear and distinguishable signals. The liquid plug average speed sensor achieves a 95% accuracy rate, and the acceleration sensor accurately distinguishes speed trends of the liquid plug with more than 85% precision. Grating electrodes are effectively employed for motion sensing. Analyzing the motion of an object by the time difference between voltage peaks offers greater stability than voltage magnitude analysis. Four portable prototypes are designed to make them applicable for fluid sensing in microchannel devices.