Three-dimensional three-component particle velocimetry for microscale flows using volumetric scanning

S. A. Klein, J. L. Moran, David Frakes, J. D. Posner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We present a diagnostic platform for measuring three-dimensional three-component (3D3C) velocity fields in microscopic volumes. The imaging system uses high-speed Nipkow spinning disk confocal microscopy. Confocal microscopy provides optical sectioning using pinhole spatial filtering which rejects light originating from out-of-focus objects. The system accomplishes volumetric scanning by rapid translation of the high numerical aperture objective using a piezo objective positioner. The motion of fluorescent microspheres is quantified using 3D3C super resolution particle-imaging velocimetry with instantaneous spatial resolutions of the order of 5m or less in all three dimensions. We examine 3D3C flow in a PDMS microchannel with an expanding section at 3D acquisition rates of 30Hz, and find strong agreement with a computational model. Equations from the PIV and PTV literature adapted for a scanning objective provide estimates of maximum measurable velocity. The technique allows for isosurface visualization of 3D particle motion and robust high spatial resolution velocity measurements without requiring a calibration step or reconstruction algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085304
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • PIV
  • PTV
  • confocal
  • micro PIV
  • microfluidics
  • microscopy
  • objective positioner
  • particle-image velocimetry
  • particle-tracking velocimetry
  • piezo
  • piezo actuated
  • super resolution PIV
  • temporally resolved
  • time resolved
  • volumetric scanning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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