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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 8, 2015

An experimental setup for traceable measurement and calibration of liquid flow rates down to 5 nl/min

Martin Ahrens, Bodo Nestler, Stephan Klein, Peter Lucas, Harm Tido Petter and Christian Damiani


This work presents the improvements of an experimental setup for measuring ultra-low flow rates down to 5 nl/min. The system uses a telecentric CCD imaging system mounted on a high-precision, computer-controlled linear stage to track a moving liquid meniscus inside a glass capillary. Compared to the original setup, the lowest attainable expanded uncertainty at any flow rate has been reduced from 5.4% to 2%. In addition, the conformity with specification of three commercial micro-fluidic devices was evaluated using the new setup: one syringe pump, one implantable infusion pump and one thermal flow sensor. The flow sensor and the implantable infusion pump met the compliance criteria (coverage probability 95%). The syringe pump however, failed to meet the specifications at 5 nl/min and 10 nl/min. No assessment could be made at higher flow rates.

Corresponding author: Christian Damiani, FHL – Lübeck University of Applied Sciences, 23562 Lübeck, Germany, Phone: +49 451 300 5564, Fax: +49 451 300 5512, E-mail:


This research was funded by the European Metrology Research Program (EMRP Grant number: SRT h-18, JRP HLT07) within the project Metrology for Drug Delivery.


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Received: 2014-11-4
Accepted: 2015-6-10
Published Online: 2015-7-8
Published in Print: 2015-8-1

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