This paper presents a simple peristaltic micropump design incorporated with valved actuation chambers and propelled by a pulsed vacuum source. The vacuum-driven peristaltic micropump offers high pumping rates, low backflow, appreciable tolerance to air bubbles, and minimal destruction to fluid contents. The pumping device, fabricated by laser micromachining and plasma bonding of three polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) layers, includes a pneumatic network, actuation membranes, and microfluidic channels. As the key to peristaltic motion, the sequential deflection of the elastic membranes is achieved by periodic pressure waveforms (negative) traveling through the pneumatic network, provided by a vacuum source regulated by an electromagnetic valve. This configuration eliminates the complicated control logic typically required in peristaltic motion. Importantly, the valved actuation chambers substantially reduce backflow and improve the pumping rates. In addition, the pneumatic network with negative pressure provides a means to effectively remove air bubbles present in the microflow through the gas-permeable PDMS membrane, which can be highly desired in handling complex fluidic samples. Experimental characterization of the micropump performance has been conducted by controlling the resistance of the pneumatic network, the number of normally closed valves, the vacuum pressure, and the frequency of pressure pulses. A maximal flow rate of 600 νL min-1 has been optimized at the pulsed vacuum frequency of 30 Hz with a vacuum pressure of 50 kPa, which is comparable to that of compressed air-actuated peristaltic micropumps.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering