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The first microelectromechanical-system normally closed electrothermal valve constructed using Parylene C is described, which enables both low power (in milliwatts) and rapid operation (in milliseconds). This low-power valve is well suited for applications in wirelessly controlled implantable drug-delivery systems. The simple design was analyzed using both theory and modeling and then characterized in benchtop experiments. Operation in air (constant current) and water (current ramping) was demonstrated. Valve-opening powers of 22 mW in air and 33 mW in water were obtained. Following integration of the valve with catheters, our valve was applied in a wirelessly operated microbolus infusion pump, and the in vivo functionality for the appropriateness of use of this pump for future brain mapping applications in small animals was demonstrated.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2009