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µ Development of Microfluidics Systems

The project consists of three subprojects:

Modeling and simulating microfluidics

This subproject aims to improve the abilities to develop and utilize microfluidic systems

  • by getting fundamental knowledge of the essential microfluidic phenomena and components and
  • by gaining experience of the modeling and simulating of the microfluidic components that are essential to this project, using fluid calculation software and macro modeling (circuit analogy)

The project also elaborated the modeling of PZT ceramics using element method based modeling.

Scanning electron microscope picture of the cross-section of a 70 µm thick HS01-type EMFi.

Microfluidic components

In this project, piezoelectric microactuators and EMFi film based microfluidic components were looked into and developed. Three different micropump prototypes were built using the EMFi film:

  1. A one-chamber EMFi pump
  2. A pump with three serial chambers, where the liquid is moved by the action of two EMFi films
  3. A three-chamber pump based on a stack of EMFi films, where the liquid is moved by varying the thickness of the films

Various piezoelectric actuator based pumps and drop injectors were developed and tested, for example

  • a new kind of a piezoelectric pump construction that uses only one diffusor in the piezo membrane
  • an injector construction where a thin glass membrane is put into vibration by a piezoelectric actuator
  • an injection system with two serial actuators: a peristaltic pump and a piezoelectric actuator


In this subproject, methods for automated micromanipulation were developed. With the new control algorithms and the new machine vision system, the accuracy of positioning of the micromanipulator was improved to less than .5 µm. This allows for automatic injecting of individual cells. Besides the great accuracy, this new setup allows for a 1 mm² working area in the xy-plane.