A Compact, Syringe-Assisted, Vacuum-Driven Micropumping Device

Micromachines (Basel). 2019 Aug 17;10(8):543. doi: 10.3390/mi10080543.


In this paper, a simple syringe‑assisted pumping method is introduced. The proposed fluidic micropumping system can be used instead of a conventional pumping system which tends to be large, bulky, and expensive. The micropump was designed separately from the microfluidic channels and directly bonded to the outlet of the microfluidic device. The pump components were composed of a dead‑end channel which was surrounded by a microchamber. A syringe was then connected to the pump structure by a short tube, and the syringe plunger was manually pulled out to generate low pressure inside the microchamber. Once the sample was loaded in the inlet, air inside the channel diffused into the microchamber through the PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) wall, acting as a dragging force and pulling the sample toward the outlet. A constant flow with a rate that ranged from 0.8 nl · s - 1 to 7.5 nl · s - 1 was achieved as a function of the geometry of the pump, i.e., the PDMS wall thickness and the diffusion area. As a proof-of-concept, microfluidic mixing was demonstrated without backflow. This method enables pumping for point-of-care testing (POCT) with greater flexibility in hand-held PDMS microfluidic devices.

Keywords: PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane); microfluidics; micropumping; point-of-care.

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