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This paper reports a new membrane-based pneumatic micropump with new serpentine-shape (S-shape) pneumatic channels intended for achieving high-throughput pumping in a microfluidic system at a relatively low pumping rate and a board flow rate range. The key feature of this design is the ability to modulate the pumping rates by fine-tuning the fluidic resistance of injected compressed air in the designed pneumatic microchannels and the chambers of the micropump. In the study, several S-shape pneumatic micropumps with various layouts were designed and fabricated based on thick-film photoresist lithography and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) replication processes. To investigate designs with a suitable pumping performance, S-shape pneumatic micropumps with varied lengths (1000, 5000 and 10 000 νm), varied widths (20, 40 and 200 νm) of the pneumatic microchannel bridging two rectangular pneumatic chambers, and different numbers of pneumatic channel bends (two and four U-shape bends) were designed and evaluated experimentally by using high-speed CCD-coupled microscopic observation of the movement of PDMS membrane pulsation and pumping rate measurements. The results revealed that under the experimental conditions studied, the layout of the S-shape pneumatic micropump with three rectangular pneumatic chambers, 5000 νm long and 40 νm wide pneumatic microchannel and four U-shape bends in the pneumatic microchannel was found to be capable of providing a broader pumping rate range from 0 to 539 νl h-1 compared to the other designs. As a whole, the experimental results demonstrate the use of fluidic resistance of injected air in a pneumatic micropump with S-shape layout to control its pumping performance, which largely expands the flexibility of its pumping application in a microfluidic system. © 2008 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering

Publication Date