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Thin-film shape-memory alloy actuated micropumps

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4 Author(s)
Benard, W.L. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Appl. Phys., Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland, OH, USA ; Kahn, Harold ; Heuer, A.H. ; Huff, M.A.

Micropumps capable of precise handling of low-fluid volumes have the potential to revolutionize applications in fields such as drug delivery, fuel injection, and micrototal chemical analysis systems (μTAS). Traditional microactuators used in micropumps suffer from low strokes and, as a result, are unsuitable for achieving large fluid displacement. They also suffer low-actuation work densities, which translate to low forces. We investigate the use of the shape-memory effect (SMA) in sputter-deposited thin-film shape-memory alloy (SMA) titanium nickel (TiNi) as an actuator for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based microfluidic devices, as it is capable of both high force and high strains. The resistivity of the SMA thin film is suitable for Joule heating, which allows direct electrical control of the actuator. Two micropump designs were fabricated-one with a novel complementary actuator and the other with a polyimide-biased actuator-which provided thermal isolation between the heated microactuator and the fluid being pumped. A maximum water flow rate of 50 μl/min was achieved

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 2 )