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A four-bit digital microinjector using microheater array for adjusting the ejected droplet volume

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2 Author(s)
Tae Goo Kang ; Digital Nanolocomotion Center, Korea Adv. Inst. of Sci. & Technol., Daejeon, South Korea ; Young-Ho Cho

In this paper, we present the design, fabrication, and experimental results of 4-bit digital microinjectors, whose ejected droplet volumes are adjusted by the digital operation of a 4-bit microheater array. We design the reference microinjectors as well as its comparative test structures. In the fabrication process, we use a five-mask micromachining process and the total chip size of the fabricated microinjector is 7640 μm×5260 μm. We observe the microbubble generation and collapse on the microheater array. The microbubbles initiate and grow individually on top of each operating microheater, however the microbubbles merge together before collapse. We measure the ejected droplet volumes and velocities, which are adjusted from 12.1 ≈ 55.6 pl and 2.3 ≈ 15.7m/s, respectively, depending on the 15 possible combinations of 4-bit microheater array. We also experimentally characterize the effect of geometric variation including the microheater size, intermicroheater gap, microchannel width and sequential operation of microheater array on the ejected droplet volume and velocity. Thus, the present microinjector has a potential for application to the high-resolution inkjet printers with multiple gray levels or high-precision fluid injectors with variable volume control.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 5 )