Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Liquid metal pump a breakthrough for micro-fluidics

Date:
February 21, 2014
Source:
RMIT University
Summary:
Scientists have developed the world's first liquid metal enabled pump, a revolutionary new micro-scale device with no mechanical parts. The unique design will enable micro-fluidics and lab-on-a-chip technology to finally realize their potential, with applications ranging from biomedicine to biofuels.

RMIT University researchers in Melbourne, Australia, have developed the world's first liquid metal enabled pump, a revolutionary new micro-scale device with no mechanical parts.

The unique design will enable micro-fluidics and lab-on-a-chip technology to finally realise their potential, with applications ranging from biomedicine to biofuels.

The research has been published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Lead investigator Dr Khashayar Khoshmanesh, a Research Fellow in the Centre for Advanced Electronics and Sensors at RMIT, said currently there was no easy way to drive liquid around a fluidic chip in micro-fabricated systems.

"Lab-on-a-chip systems hold great promise for applications such as biosensing and blood analysis but they currently rely on cumbersome, large-scale external pumps, which significantly limit design possibilities," he said.

"Our unique pump enabled by a single droplet of liquid metal can be easily integrated into a micro device, has no mechanical parts and is both energy efficient and easy to produce or replace.

"Just as integrated micro-electronics has revolutionised the way that we process information -- enabling the development of computers and smart phones -- integrated micro-fluidics has the potential to revolutionise the way we process chemicals and manipulate bio-particles at the micro-scale.

"This innovation shows that micro- and nano-scale pumping can be accomplished with a simple system -- a crucial advance for the field of micro-fluidics."

The design uses droplets of Galinstan -- a non-toxic liquid metal alloy composed of gallium, indium and tin -- as the core of a pumping system to induce flows of liquid in looped channels.

When the alloy is activated by applying a voltage, the charge distribution along the surface is altered. This propels the surrounding liquid without moving the Galinstan droplet through the loop, using a process called "continuous electrowetting."

The pump is highly controllable, with the flow rate adjusted simply by altering the frequency, magnitude and waveform of the applied signal. The flow direction can also be readily reversed by reversing the polarity of the applied voltage.

YouTube video of the liquid metal enabled pump in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmDgOrNiOpE&feature=youtu.be


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RMIT University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S.-Y. Tang, K. Khoshmanesh, V. Sivan, P. Petersen, A. P. O'Mullane, D. Abbott, A. Mitchell, K. Kalantar-zadeh. Liquid metal enabled pump. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1319878111

Cite This Page:

RMIT University. "Liquid metal pump a breakthrough for micro-fluidics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140221073833.htm>.
RMIT University. (2014, February 21). Liquid metal pump a breakthrough for micro-fluidics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140221073833.htm
RMIT University. "Liquid metal pump a breakthrough for micro-fluidics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140221073833.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins