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In this paper, a rapid and low-cost fabrication technology for high-density microvalve arrays is presented. For proof of the concept, a pneumatically-actuated three-way microvalve system composed of three independent one-way valve units was fabricated and tested. Each valve unit has a membrane, which is actuated by external negative air pressure. Intervals between the valve units are smaller than 780 /spl mu/m. These small intervals have been realized by providing the system with a layer of microchannels to conduct the air pressure to the valve units. All the parts were made of inexpensive silicone elastomer - polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) - and rapidly fabricated with molding and spin-coating. A newly developed technique for wafer level transfer of a PDMS membrane has been proven to be effective. Flow characteristics of the microvalve system for water are presented. The microvalve works in an on-off manner with hysteresis. No leakage has been observed in the closed state. In the open state, measured flow resistances (pressure drops) are within the range of 1.65-2.29 kPa/(/spl mu/L/min).
Date of Conference: 25-25 Jan. 2001