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Integratable magnetic shape memory micropump for high-pressure, precision microfluidic applications

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Abstract

Precisely controlling the flow of fluids on a microscopic scale has been a technological challenge in the field of microfluidics. Active microfluidics, where a defined manipulation of the working fluid is necessary, requires active components such as micropumps or microvalves. We report on an optimized design of an integratable, wireless micropump made from the magnetic shape memory (MSM) alloy Ni–Mn–Ga. An external magnetic field generates a shape change in the MSM material, which drives the fluid in a similar fashion as a peristaltic pump. Thus, the pump does not need electrical contacts and avoids the mechanical parts found in traditional pumping technologies, decreasing the complexity of the micropump. With a discrete pumping resolution of 50–150 nL per pumping cycle, which is further scalable, and a pumping pressure well exceeding 2 bar, the MSM micropump is capable of accurately delivering the fluids needed for microfluidic devices. The MSM micropump is self-priming, pumping both liquid and gas, and demonstrates repeatable performance across a range of pumping frequencies. Furthermore, it operates simultaneously as both a valve and reversible micropump, offering superior possibilities compared to existing technologies within the flow rate range of 0–2000 µL/min. Due to its simplicity, this technology can be scaled down easily, which lends itself for future integration into lab-on-a-chips and microreactors for life science and chemistry applications.

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Acknowledgements

Janne Huimasalo is thanked for his assistance in manufacturing the micropump and the experimental setup. The Academy of Finland (Grant No. 277996) is acknowledged for the financial support.

Author information

Correspondence to K. Ullakko.

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Saren, A., Smith, A.R. & Ullakko, K. Integratable magnetic shape memory micropump for high-pressure, precision microfluidic applications. Microfluid Nanofluid 22, 38 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-018-2058-0

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Keywords

  • Microfluidic
  • Micropump
  • Fluid delivery
  • Lab-on-a-chip
  • Magnetic shape memory
  • Ni–Mn–Ga