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A pneumatically actuated silicon microvalve applicable to integrated microfluidic systems is presented. All the ports of this microvalve are in-channel, and connectable to any surface fluid channels in microfluidic systems. This microvalve controls fluid flow by means of the controlled gap between glass and silicon diaphragm actuated by a control pressure. In addition, the diaphragm is also deformed by the outlet pressure of the microvalve. Due to the feature, this microvalve shows saturation of flow rate like MOSFETs operated at saturation region. The fabricated microvalve device was evaluated focusing on analogous relationship between MOSFET and the microvalve. Fluids such as air and DI-water were well controlled by the control pressure. Fluid starts to flow in the microvalve when the control pressure exceeds its "threshold pressure." Hysteresis due to sticking of diaphragm was not observed in the characteristics. Air flow rate of the microvalve was gradually saturated with the increasing of the outlet pressure as expected. Through the evaluation, analogous relationship between this microvalve and MOSFET has been experimentally demonstrated.
Date of Publication: Oct 2002