2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2007 - 10th Annual

Novel piezo motor enables positive displacement microfluidic pump

D. Henderson
New Scale Technologies, US

microfluidics, fluid transport, PCR, drug delivery, piezoelectric, ultrasonic, pump, valve, positive displacement

Microfluidic pumping mechanisms, such as membrane micro pumps, create a pulsed stream with generally low pressure, low flow and limited precision. We present a novel piezoelectric motor that is used to create a positive displacement pump for microfluidic applications. This direct displacement pump achieves nanoliter precision and a much wider range of pressure/flow options for lab-on-a-chip applications. The millimeter-scale ceramic motor generates > 0.2 N of force over many millimeters of travel with submicrometer precision. In this patented design, a tiny screw moves with precise and highly controllable linear motion. A positive displacement pump is created by using the tip of the screw to directly move a piston, syringe or bellows. The precise movement of the screw is directly converted to fluid flow, creating a highly precise and steady flow regardless of backpressure. Pressure and flow are easily scaled by adjusting the syringe diameter. This new pumping mechanism is being investigated to improve a variety of lab-on-a-chip instruments, including the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) process for DNA analysis. We present closed-loop data for the motor including variable speeds of 1 µm/s to 5 mm/s and position resolution of 0.5µm. This data is correlated with pump performance for several design examples.

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