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A smart and portable micropump for stable liquid delivery

Zhang, Xinjie, Xia, Kang, Ji, Aimin, Xiang, Nan
Electrophoresis 2019 v.40 no.6 pp. 865-872
cost effectiveness, electrophoresis, lab-on-a-chip technology, liquids, microbeads, organ-on-a-chip
Precise and reliable liquid delivery is vital for microfluidic applications. Here, we illustrate the design, fabrication, characterization, and application of a portable, low cost, and robust micropump, which brings solution to stable liquid delivery in microfluidic environment. The pump is designed with three optional speeds of different pumping flow rates, and it can be simply actuated by spring‐driven mechanism. The different flow rates of the pump are realized via passive microvalves in a compact microfluidic chip, which is installed in the pump. Importantly, the membrane structures of the microvalves allow accurate liquid control, and stable flow rates can be achieved via a spring setup. The proposed pump is applied to continuously and stably infuse microbead suspension into an inertial microfluidic chip, and good particle focusing is realized in the spiral channel of the inertial microfluidic chip. The proposed portable, self‐powered, and cost‐efficient pump is crucial for microfluidic lab‐on‐a‐chip system integration, which may facilitate microfluidic application for precise liquid delivery, control, measurement, and analysis.