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Low-power microfluidic electro-hydraulic pump (EHP)

, : Low-power microfluidic electro-hydraulic pump (EHP). Lab on A Chip 10(1): 74-79

Low-power electrolysis-based microfluidic pumps utilizing the principle of hydraulics, integrated with microfluidic channels in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates, are presented. The electro-hydraulic pumps (EHPs), consisting of electrolytic, hydraulic and fluidic chambers, were investigated using two types of electrodes: stainless steel for larger volumes and annealed gold electrodes for smaller-scale devices. Using a hydraulic fluid chamber and a thin flexible PDMS membrane, this novel prototype successfully separates the reagent fluid from the electrolytic fluid, which is particularly important for biological and chemical applications. The hydraulic advantage of the EHP device arises from the precise control of flow rate by changing the electrolytic pressure generated, independent of the volume of the reagent chamber, mimicking the function of a hydraulic press. Since the reservoirs are pre-filled with reagents and sealed prior to testing, external fluid coupling is minimized. The stainless steel electrode EHPs were manufactured with varying chamber volume ratios (1 : 1 to 1 : 3) as a proof-of-concept, and exhibited flow rates of 1.25 to 30 microl/min with electrolysis-based actuation at 2.5 to 10 V(DC). The miniaturized gold electrode EHPs were manufactured with 3 mm diameters and 1 : 1 chamber volume ratios, and produced flow rates of 1.24 to 7.00 microl/min at 2.5 to 10 V(AC), with a higher maximum sustained pressure of 343 KPa, suggesting greater device robustness using methods compatible with microfabrication. The proposed technology is low-cost, low-power and disposable, with a high level of reproducibility, allowing for ease of fabrication and integration into existing microfluidic lab-on-a-chip and analysis systems.


PMID: 20024053

DOI: 10.1039/b911973f

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