Microelectromechanical flow control apparatus

Patent Number: 7,540,469
Issued: 6/2/2009
Official Filing: View the Complete Patent
Abstract: A microelectromechanical (MEM) flow control apparatus is disclosed which includes a fluid channel formed on a substrate from a first layer of a nonconducting material (e.g. silicon nitride). A first electrode is provided on the first layer of the nonconducting material outside the flow channel; and a second electrode is located on a second layer of the nonconducting material above the first layer. A voltage applied between the first and second electrodes deforms the fluid channel to increase its cross-sectional size and thereby increase a flow of a fluid through the channel. In certain embodiments of the present invention, the fluid flow can be decreased or stopped by applying a voltage between the first electrode and the substrate. A peristaltic pumping of the fluid through the channel is also possible when the voltage is applied in turn between a plurality of first electrodes and the substrate. A MEM flow control assembly can also be formed by providing one or more MEM flow control devices on a common substrate together with a submicron filter. The MEM flow control assembly can optionally include a plurality of pressure sensors for monitoring fluid pressure and determining flow rates through the assembly.
Filed: 1/25/2005
Application Number: 11/43,588
Government Interests: STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-NA0003525 awarded by the United States Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration. The Government has certain rights in the invention.