Low flow rate micropumps play an increasingly important role in drug therapy research. Infusions to small biological structures and lab-on-a-chip applications require ultra-low flow rates and will benefit from the ability to expend no power in the blocked-flow state. Here we present a planar micropump based on gallium phase-change actuation that leverages expansion during solidification to occlude the flow channel in the off-power state. The presented four chamber peristaltic micropump was fabricated with a combination of Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) techniques and additive manufacturing direct write technologies. The device is 7 mm × 13 mm × 1 mm (<100 mm3
) with the flow channel and exterior coated with biocompatible Parylene-C, critical for implantable applications. Controllable pump rates from 18 to 104 nL/min were demonstrated, with 11.1 ± 0.35 nL pumped per actuation at an efficiency of 11 mJ/nL. The normally-closed state of the gallium actuator prevents flow and diffusion between the pump and the biological system or lab-on-a-chip, without consuming power. This is especially important for implanted applications with periodic drug delivery regimens.
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