Novel Burst Valve Technology for Capillary Flow Diagnostic Devices

Sensitive and accurate control of flow through channels

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed new flow control methods for valving in capillary microfluidic devices utilizing a novel burst valve technology that can stop and start flow.  The approach has broad utility in a number of low-cost microfluidic devices where controlling flow is currently not available.

With the need for reliable and efficient COVID-19 point-of-care (POC) diagnostic devices, the burst valve technology developed here has the potential to significantly increase the availability of COVID-19 tests, with quick and accurate results.


Controlling fluid flow is a fundamental necessity for microfluidic devices. In traditional devices, this is done via mechanical valves and pumps. Mechanical valves and pumps not only increase the overall cost of these devices, but also the complexity.

Capillary-driven microfluidic devices are of significant interest for on-site analysis because they do not require external pumps and can be made from inexpensive materials. Among the capillary-driven devices, those made from paper and polyester film are among the most common and have been used in a wide array of applications. However, since capillary forces are the only driving force, flow is difficult to control, and passive flow control methods such as changing the geometry must be used to realize various analytical functions.


  • Sensitive and accurate control of flow through channels
  • Inexpensive and less complex to implement than typical mechanical valves
  • Burst valves have the potential to replace all mechanical valves and associated hardware in every capillary flow diagnostic and lateral flow immunoassay devices


  • Diagnostic devices
  • POC diagnostics
  • Sensors utilizing capillary-driven devices
Last Updated: April 2022
Vial marked COVID-19 test
IP Status

PCT Patent: WO 2022/040690


​Charles Henry
Ilhoon Jang

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