Special Issue "Micropumps: Design, Fabrication and Applications"


A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Peter Woias
Laboratory for Design of Microsystems, Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK), University of Freiburg, Georges-Koehler-Alle 102, 79110 Freiburg, Germany
Website: http://www.brainlinks-braintools.uni-freiburg.de/people/profile-woias
E-Mail: woias@imtek.de
Phone: +49 (0) 761 203-7490
Interests: microfluidics and micropumps; micro energy harvesting

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Within MEMS research, the micropump is regarded as a "long runner". Research concerning micropumps started in the mid-1970s. Since then, micropumps have always been the focus of development, with respect to their principal functions, designs and fabrications, and applications.

Consequently, we find a multitude of both mechanical and non-mechanical micropumps today. The first - and earliest - class mostly uses the principle of valve-based membrane pumps, which have different actuation concepts, valve types, and pumping concepts. In contrast, non-mechanical micropumps use a variety of direct actuation mechanisms (e.g., electrohydrodynamic, magnetohydrodynamic or electrophoretic principles). The design and fabrication of micropumps has gone through a spectrum of technologies and materials. The spectrum of fabrication materials and associated fabrication processes is extremely broad and includes silicon, glass, polymers, and metals. Similarly, the potential applications of micropumps have multiplied; applications range from systems for precision drug delivery and chemical analysis to high-power throughput devices.

This Special Issue assumes the challenge of giving an actual overview concerning the aforementioned huge diversity of principles, technologies, and applications. With the long history of micropump research in mind, we welcome contributions that describe the actual research and development regarding micropumps or micropump sub-components, which have distinctive features compared to the state-of-the-art. Novel and innovative fabrication processes and technologies should not be presented as stand-alone concepts but in conjunction with an actual micropump design. Applications of micropumps that demonstrate the advantages of miniaturization or the benefits of specific micro- and nanotechnologies and micropump designs (for a particular application scenario) are welcome. In summation, we expect a highly focused Special Issue that confirms the importance of micropump research for MEMS design, microfabrication, and application.

Prof. Dr. Peter Woias
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • Actuation principle: Mechanical, osmotic, electrohydrodynamic, magnetohydrodynamic, dielectrophoretic
  • Pumping concept: reciprocating, continuous, bidirectional, unidirectional, pressure-independent, constant flow
  • Actuation mechanism: piezoelectric, electromagnetic, thermopneumatic, electrostatic, phase change, bubble-type
  • Materials: Polymer, silicon, glass, metal
  • Applications: drug delivery, chemical analysis, lubrication, sampling, cell manipulation, gas pumping, fluid pumping

Published Papers (1 paper)

Micromachines 2014, 5(2), 289-299; doi:10.3390/mi5020289
Received: 14 March 2014; in revised form: 2 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 23 May 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (741 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
abstract graphic

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: A Peristaltic Pump Integrated On A 100% Glass Microchip Using Computer Controlled Piezoelectric Actuators
Yo Tanaka
Affiliations: Quantitative Biology Center (QBiC), RIKEN, 2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047, Japan; E-Mail: yo.tanaka@riken.jp; Tel.: +81-78-306-3357; Fax: +81-78-306-3194
Lab-on-a-chip technology is promising for the miniaturization of chemistry, biochemistry and/or biology researchers looking to exploit the advantages of a microspace.  To manipulate fluid on a microchip, on-chip pumps are indispensable.  To date, there have been several types of on-chip pumps including pneumatic, electroactive, and magnetically driven.  However these pumps introduce polymers, metals and/or silicon to the microchip, and these materials have several disadvantages, including chemical or physical instability, or an inherent optical detection limit.  To overcome/avoid these issues, glass has been one of the most commonly utilized materials for the production of multi-purpose integrated chemical systems.  However, glass is very rigid, and it is difficult to incorporate pumps onto a glass microchips.  This paper reports the use of a very flexible, ultra-thin glass sheet (minimum thickness of a few micrometers) to realize a pump installed on an entirely glass-based microchip.  The pump is a peristaltic-type, composed of 4 serial valves sealing a cavity with 2 penetrate holes using ultra-thin glass sheet.  By this pump, an on-chip circulating flow was demonstrated by directly observing fluid flow, visualized via polystyrene tracking particles.  The flow rate was proportional to the pumping frequency, with a maximum flow rate of approximately 0.80 µL/min.  This on-chip pump could likely be utilized in a wide range of applications which require the stability of a glass microchip.
lab-on-a-chip; peristaltic pump; on-chip valve and pump; glass microchip; ultra thin glass

Title: A New Concept Of A Drug Delivery System With Improved Precision And Patient Safety Features
Florian Thoma *, Frank Goldschmidtböing and Peter Woias
Affiliation: Universität Freiburg Imtek , Geörges Köhler Allee 102 79108 Freiburg, Germany
Abstract: Complex diseases, diseases such as cancer, need treatment concepts that are precisely tailored to each individual patient. Active implantable drug delivery systems could form the basis of these new treatments. However, comparable drug delivery systems that are already on the market have a dosing accuracy of the delivered drug of 10-14.5%. To ensure best possible therapy and patient safety it is therefore recommended to enhance the accuracy of drug delivery, and to control the actual amount of delivered drug. This paper presents a novel dosing concept for drug delivery based on a peristaltic piezo-actuated micro membrane pump. The design of the silicon micropump itself is straight-forward, using two piezoactuated membrane valves as inlet and outlet and a pump chamber with a piezoactuated pump membrane in-between. To achieve a precise dosing, this micropump will be used to fill a metering unit placed at its outlet. In the final design concept this metering unit will be made from a piezoactuated inlet valve, a storage chamber with an elastic cover membrane and a piezoactuated outlet valve, which are connected in series. During a dosing cycle the metering unit is used to adjust the drug volume to be dispensed before delivery, and to control the actually dispensed volume. For this purpose the deformation of the membrane on top of the storage chamber is measured after the storage chamber with closed outlet valve is filled via the micropump, to calculate the volume of stored drug. In this state the deformed membrane exerts a certain pressure onto the stored drug. After opening of the storage chamber’s outlet valve, a certain portion of the drug is released by the storage chamber. A second measurement of the membrane deflection at the end of the dosing cycle will allow to calculate the amount of dispensed drug. To simulate the new drug delivery concept a lumped parameter model has been developed to find the decisive design parameters. With the knowledge taken from the model a drug delivery system is designed that includes a silicon micro pump and, in a first step, a silicon chip with the storage chamber and two commercial microvalves as a metering unit. Measurements show that the dosing accuracy of this modular setup will already reach 5%.
drug delivery system; micropump; lumped  parameter model

Title: A New Concept Of A Drug Delivery System With Improved Precision And Patient Safety Features
Florian Thoma *, Frank Goldschmidtböing and Peter Woias
Affiliation: Universität Freiburg Imtek , Geörges Köhler Allee 102 79108 Freiburg, Germany
Fluidic microsystems e.g. micropumps or lab-on-chip systems are designed to allow either chemical or biological reactions on the micro scale or will undergo chemical interactions at their wetted surfaces, this under variable pressure, flow or temperature. In a lab-on-chip system these reactions happen in a sequence of different process stages, e.g. by sequential mixing, measuring and dispensing, that are performed by different functional units integrated into the microreactor system. Also, in a micropump, several different functional units have to be integrated, like active or passive valves, actuated membranes, or pump chambers. Therefore, the need for an integration of different functional units is evident for micropumps as well as other, more complex microfluidic systems, where lab-on-chip is taken as an example here. For both cases, in order to obtain highly integrated systems with different requirements of mechanical stability, functionality, chemical resistance,biological compatibility, new 3D fluidic assembly technologies for functional units made from different materials have to be established. Key requirements are the use of a minimum of chemically and mechanically stable materials at interfaces between functional layers, the formation of a bond without introducing detrimental effects, e.g. mechanical stress, and a high longlerm stability of the bond under variable chemical, physical and thermal influences. In this article a new Pyrex bonding technology is introduced which connects two functional units made of silicon. The practical application demonstrated here is a precision dosing system that uses a mechanically actuated membrane micropump for fluid propelling and passive membranes for fluid metering. To enable functionality after the full integration an assembly technology has to be established, which does not introduce additional stress into the system and does fulfill all other requirements detailed above, like pressure tolerance and chemical stability. This is achieved here with a stress-free thermal bonding principle to connect pyrex to silicon in a three-layer stack: After alignment the silicon-pyrex-silicon stack is heated up to 700°C. Above the glass transition temperature of 525°C Pyrex exhibits viscoelastic behavior. This allows the glass layer to get into close mechanical contact with the upper and lower silicon layers. The high temperature and the close contact promote Pyrex and  silicon to form a stable and reliable Si-O-Si bond, without introducing mechanical stress into the system, and without exaggerate deformation of the bonding partners. In order to proof the applicability of this new bonding technology a silicon micropump and a silicon dosing unit are bonded together onto a common Pyrex wafer carrying fluidic vias to connect both units. The silicon-based systems consist of two bonded wafers each and include thin membranes. After assembly, a five-layer stack is formed, whose functionality is demonstrated as a proof for this bonding technology.

Keywords: silicon fusion bond; Pyrex; microfluidic

Last update: 14 April 2014

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