9 April 2013 All inkjet-printed electroactive polymer actuators for microfluidic lab-on-chip systems
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Piezoelectric electroactive polymers (EAP) are promising materials for applications in microfluidic lab-on-chip systems. In such systems, fluids can be analyzed by different chemical or physical methods. During the analysis the fluids need to be distributed through the channels of the chip, which requires a pumping function. We present here all inkjet-printed EAP actuators that can be configured as a membrane-based micropump suitable for direct integration into lab-on-chip systems. Drop-on-demand inkjet printing is a versatile digital deposition technique that is capable of depositing various functional materials onto a wide variety of substrates in an additive way. Compared to conventional lithography-based processing it is cost-efficient and flexible, as no masking is required. The actuators consist of a polymer foil substrate with an inkjet-printed EAP layer sandwiched between a set of two electrodes. The actuators are printed using a commercially available EAP solution and silver nanoparticle inks. When a voltage is applied across the polymer layer, piezoelectric strain leads to a bending deflection of the beam or membrane. Circular membrane actuators with 20 mm diameter and EAP thicknesses of 10 to 15 μm exhibit deflections of several μm when driven at their resonance frequency with voltages of 110 V. From the behavior of membrane actuators a pumping rate of several 100 μL/min can be estimated, which is promising for applications in lab-on-chip devices.
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Oliver Pabst, Oliver Pabst, Erik Beckert, Erik Beckert, Jolke Perelaer, Jolke Perelaer, Ulrich S. Schubert, Ulrich S. Schubert, Ramona Eberhardt, Ramona Eberhardt, Andreas Tünnermann, Andreas Tünnermann, "All inkjet-printed electroactive polymer actuators for microfluidic lab-on-chip systems", Proc. SPIE 8687, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2013, 86872H (9 April 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2009605; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2009605

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