Micromachines2015, 6(11), 1805-1824; doi:10.3390/mi6111456 - published 17 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To successfully exploit the full potential of piezoelectric actuators in micro/nano positioning systems, it is essential to model their hysteresis behavior accurately. A novel hysteresis model for piezoelectric actuator is proposed in this paper. Firstly, segment-similarity, which describes the similarity relationship between hysteresis curve segments with different turning points, is proposed. Time-scale similarity, which describes the similarity relationship between hysteresis curves with different rates, is used to solve the problem of dynamic effect. The proposed model is formulated using these similarities. Finally, the experiments are performed with respect to a micro/nano-meter movement platform system. The effectiveness of the proposed model is verified as compared with the Preisach model. The experimental results show that the proposed model is able to precisely predict the hysteresis trajectories of piezoelectric actuators and performs better than the Preisach model.
Micromachines2015, 6(11), 1794-1804; doi:10.3390/mi6111457 - published 16 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This mini-review presents recent progresses in the development of microfluidic constriction channels enabling high-throughput mechanical property characterization of single cells. We first summarized the applications of the constriction channel design in quantifying mechanical properties of various types of cells including red blood cells, white blood cells, and tumor cells. Then we highlighted the efforts in modeling the cellular entry process into the constriction channel, enabling the translation of raw mechanical data (e.g., cellular entry time into the constriction channel) into intrinsic cellular mechanical properties such as cortical tension or Young’s modulus. In the end, current limitations and future research opportunities of the microfluidic constriction channels were discussed.
Micromachines2015, 6(11), 1768-1793; doi:10.3390/mi6111455 - published 13 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Even though droplet microfluidics has been developed since the early 1980s, the number of applications that have resulted in commercial products is still relatively small. This is partly due to an ongoing maturation and integration of existing methods, but possibly also because of the emergence of new techniques, whose potential has not been fully realized. This review summarizes the currently existing techniques for manipulating droplets in two-phase flow microfluidics. Specifically, very recent developments like the use of acoustic waves, magnetic fields, surface energy wells, and electrostatic traps and rails are discussed. The physical principles are explained, and (potential) advantages and drawbacks of different methods in the sense of versatility, flexibility, tunability and durability are discussed, where possible, per technique and per droplet operation: generation, transport, sorting, coalescence and splitting.
Micromachines2015, 6(11), 1755-1767; doi:10.3390/mi6111454 - published 13 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The photosynthetic cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942 has recently gained great attention for its ability to directly convert CO2 into renewable chemicals upon genetic engineering. Thus, it is of great interest to increase the growth speed and lower the medium requirement for cultivating this cyanobacterium. The cultivation medium of Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942 has been developed, which consists of many inorganic and metal ingredients with a specific composition, known as the BG-11 medium. In this work, we analyzed the concentration effect of each ingredient and identified the absolutely essential components in BG-11 medium for cyanobacteria growth using the concentration gradient generator chip (CGGC) fabricated by MEMS technology. As shown by our results, removal of the individual component sodium nitrate, potassium phosphate, or magnesium sulfate from the BG-11 medium led to severe growth inhibition of Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942. Contrary to our expectation, increasing concentration of the crucial ingredients showed either insignificant or negative impact on cell growth. Overall, standard growth could be achieved without supplementation of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) disodium, sodium carbonate, or sodium citrate to the culture medium. Further improvement of the CGGC-based microfluidic system based on this preliminary study may broaden its application range to analyze more complicated correlations.
Micromachines2015, 6(11), 1745-1754; doi:10.3390/mi6111452 - published 13 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To improve the stability and reliability of the piezoelectric micro-pump, the cause of air block phenomenon is analyzed on the structure of wheel check valve. During the movement of the bubble in the micro-channel, pressure drop occurs, the main factor which influences the bubble going through is opening height of the wheel check valve. Five groups of wheel check valves with different structures are used to test the wheel check valve opening height and air block probability. The experiment results show that reducing the wheel check valve thickness or diameter ratio can both increase the wheel check valve opening height, and decrease the air block probability. Through experiment, the optimum combination of the wheel check valve structure is obtained within the samples: as the thickness is 0.02 mm, the diameter ratio is 1.2, the wheel check valve opening height gets 252 µm, and within the given bubble volume, the air block probability is less than 2%.
Micromachines2015, 6(11), 1729-1744; doi:10.3390/mi6111453 - published 13 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work we report on the fabrication process for the development of a flexible piezopolymeric transducer for health monitoring applications, based on lead-free, piezoelectric zinc oxide (ZnO) thin films. All the selected materials are compatible with the space environment and were deposited by the RF magnetron sputtering technique at room temperature, in view of preserving the total flexibility of the structures, which is an important requirement to guarantee coupling with cylindrical fuel tanks whose integrity we want to monitor. The overall transducer architecture was made of a c-axis-oriented ZnO thin film coupled to a pair of flexible Polyimide foils coated with gold (Au) electrodes. The fabrication process started with the deposition of the bottom electrode on Polyimide foils. The ZnO thin film and the top electrode were then deposited onto the Au/Polyimide substrates. Both the electrodes and ZnO layer were properly patterned by wet-chemical etching and optical lithography. The assembly of the final structure was then obtained by gluing the upper and lower Polyimide foils with an epoxy resin capable of guaranteeing low outgassing levels, as well as adequate thermal and electrical insulation of the transducers. The piezoelectric behavior of the prototypes was confirmed and evaluated by measuring the mechanical displacement induced from the application of an external voltage.