Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a microfluidic peristaltic pump that does not require off-chip controllers for actuation, but rather is driven by on-chip pneumatic circuitry.
Currently, microfluidic devices often require unwieldy off-chip pneumatic and electronic components to control the actuation of valves and pumps on-chip. These components interface to the chip through a maze of tubing and wiring. While effective in laboratory settings, this approach is disadvantageous in applications where simplicity and portability are key, such as point-of-care diagnostics.
This invention allows pumping to be controlled by an on-chip circuit, negating the need for off-chip controllers. In many cases, the only off-chip connection required is a single line to a static vacuum source to provide power. Multiple pumps can be combined on chip with additional logic circuitry to create integrated liquid-handling systems capable of executing metering, mixing, incubating, and washing operations, under the control of on-board pneumatic digital logic circuitry.
The system consists of a self-oscillating circuit that provides a set of synchronized periodic waveforms, which in turn drive a bank of valves in specific patterns to achieve fluid pumping.
This pump can be used to control liquid handling on point-of-care medical diagnostic devices. It can also be used to provide recirculation within flow chambers for DNA hybridization or antibody binding. This may be useful, for example, in DNA sequencing machines.
In contrast to typical microfluidic systems that require both the microfluidic chip and external control machinery, this invention enables the microfluidic chip to function autonomously without external controllers. This achieves simpler and more portable systems that may also have a significant advantage in manufacturing cost due to monolithic integration.
|United States Of America||Issued Patent||9,784,258||10/10/2017||2013-232|
|United States Of America||Published Application||20190153376||05/23/2019||2013-232|
Prototype pumps as well as an integrated chip that can perform metering, mixing, incubation, and washing operations have been successfully demonstrated.