It is well known that analyzing the dynamic behavior of reversible gels is a tough job, as it requires a detailed control of geometry, bond lifetimes, etc… . In this context, we use an optofluidic microrehometer to investigate the properties of a system composed by DNA nanostars.
The device, allowing to test samples with volume smaller than 1 uL, consists in a square section microchannel realized in a glass substrate and having a couple of facing waveguides, realized by fs-laser inscription technique, on the two sides of the channel. Using the optical-shooting technique (T. Yang, et al. Scientific Reports 6, 23946 2016; T. Yang et al. Micromachines 8, 65, 2017.), we investigated the system viscosity as a function of the temperature and of the applied optical force, observing the transition from Newtonian to shear-thinning behavior while lowering the temperature below the gelation threshold.
Stress-strain curves analysis allowed assessing the system activation energy, which is in good agreement with that obtained by dynamic light scattering measurements.