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System modeling and controller designs for a Peltier-based thermal device in microfluidic application Open Access


Other title
PCR Cycling
Thermal controller
Nonlinear control
Switching control
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Jiang, Jingbo
Supervisor and department
Marquez, Horacio J. (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Shah, Sirish L. (Chemical and Material Engineering)
Backhouse, Chris J. (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
McIsaac, Kenneth A. (Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Western Ontario)
Zhao, Qing (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
A custom-made Peltier-based thermal device is designed to perform miniaturized bio-molecular reactions in a microfluidic platform for medical diagnostic tests, especially the polymerase chain reaction for DNA amplification. The cascaded two-stage device is first approximated by multiple local linear models whose parameters are obtained by system identification. A decentralized switching controller is proposed, where two internal model-based PI controllers are used in local stabilizations and PD and PI controllers are applied during transitions respectively. Couplings and drift are further reflected into the controllers. Desired temperature tracking performance on the transition speed and overshoot is achieved, and the feasibility of the Peltier device in a microfluidic platform is further validated by the successful applications of viral detection. To achieve fast and smooth transition while avoiding tuning by trial-and-errors, a nonlinear model is developed based on the first principles, whose parameters are partially calculated from empirical rules and partially determined by open-loop and closed-loop experimental data. Two novel nonlinear controllers are designed based on the nonlinear model. The first controller extends the input-to-state feedback linearization technique to a class of nonlinear systems that is affine on both the control inputs and the square of control inputs (including the Peltier system). Additional local high gain controllers are introduced to reduce the steady-state errors due to parameter uncertainty. The second controller is a time-based switching controller which switches between nonlinear pseudo-PID/ state feedback controllers and local PI controllers. Calculation burden is reduced and steady-state error is minimized using a PI controller locally, while fast and smooth transition is achieved by the nonlinear counterpart. The robustness of the controller is verified in simulation under worse case scenarios. Both simulation and experimental results validated the effectiveness of the two nonlinear controllers. The proposed linear/ nonlinear, switching/ non-switching controllers provide different options for the Peltier-based thermal applications. The scalability and the parameter updating capability of the nonlinear controllers facilitate the extension of the Peltier device to other microfluidic applications.
License granted by Jingbo Jiang ( on 2010-04-15T08:34:43Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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