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Journal Article

A new working principle for ac electro-hydrodynamic on-chip micro-pumps


Holtappels,  M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Stubbe, M., Holtappels, M., & Gimsa, J. (2007). A new working principle for ac electro-hydrodynamic on-chip micro-pumps. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 40(21), 6850-6856.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CDDC-1
Our new type of on-chip micro-pump exploits the ac electro-kinetic forces acting in the volume of a fluid in the presence of a temperature gradient. No mechanically movable parts are used. The velocity of the pump flow observed depends on the frequency and strength of the driving ac field and on the temperature gradient across the pump channel. An integrated heating element allows the temperature gradient to be adjusted. Both ac field electrodes and heating element are platinum structures processed on a glass chip. The pump-channel walls and cover are made from polymer and thin-glass, respectively. In this paper, we present measurements of the fluid velocity as functions of the medium conductivity (0.1–1.3 S m−1) and field frequency (300 kHz–52 MHz), voltage across the field-electrode voltage (0–35 Vrms) and the heating element (1.1–3.6 V). Velocities of up to 120 µm s−1 were observed in the pump channel. The advantage of our new design is an evenly shaped cross-section of the pump channel, which reduces the risk of the channel becoming clogged by debris. Ac-electro-osmosis is not a predominant effect in our structures. Pumping could only be observed when the heating current and ac-pump field were applied simultaneously. The effects observed were simulated with the COMSOL Multiphysics program.