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Fabrication and characterization of hydrogel-based microvalves

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3 Author(s)
Liu, R.H. ; Beckman Inst. for Adv. Sci. & Technol., Illinois Univ., Urbana, IL, USA ; Yu, Q. ; Beebe, D.J.

Several microvalves utilizing stimuli-responsive hydrogel materials have been developed. The hydrogel components are fabricated inside microchannels using a liquid phase polymerization process. In-channel processing greatly simplifies device construction, assembly, and operation since the functional components are fabricated in situ and can perform both sensing and actuation functions. Two in situ photopolymerization techniques, "laminar stream mode" and "mask mode," have been explored. Three two-dimensional (2-D) valves were fabricated and tested (response time, pressure drop, maximum differential pressure). In addition, a hydrogel/PDMS three-dimensional (3-D) hybrid valve that physically separates the sensing and regulated streams was demonstrated. Analytical modeling was performed on the 3-D valve. Hydrogel-based microvalves have a number of advantages over conventional microvalves, including relatively simple fabrication, no external power requirement, no integrated electronics, large displacement (185 μm), and large force generation (22 mN)

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )