About the Event
Miniaturized gas pumps are needed in many emerging environmental, health monitoring and homeland security applications. Pressure and flow are important requirements, which in turn demand high-force, large-stroke, high frequency and low-power actuators, providing of which remains a big challenge in miniaturization and integration of micropumps. Distributing the pumping action onto several small low-force and low-power stages is a potential method to address this issue, which can be done using cascaded (high pressure) and parallel (high flow) multistage configurations; however, previous works have only been successful in utilizing the latter. This is mostly because cascaded stages experience different operating conditions, resulting in non-uniform pressure distribution, and hence, limited scaling capabilities.
This work addresses the scalability issues, by introducing a novel multistage design, resulting in uniform pressure distribution, regardless of the number of cascaded stages used. While this enables high-pressure differentials, high flow rates also become possible by fluidic resonance. Moreover, a novel modular fabrication technology is introduced, to implement the resonance-based uniform pressure distribution scheme, as well as addressing feasibility issues, caused by complex microfabrication. As a result, the current work, for the first time, enables truly scalable high-performance gas micropumps, which can be integrated into a wide range of future miniaturized sensing systems.