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All inkjet-printed electroactive polymer actuators for microfluidic lab-on-chip systems

: Pabst, Oliver; Beckert, Erik; Perelaer, Jolke; Schubert, Ulrich S.; Eberhardt, Ramona; Tünnermann, Andreas


Bar-Cohen, Y. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, EAPAD 2013 : 10.-14.3.2013, San Diego, CA, USA
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2013 (Proceedings of SPIE 8687)
ISBN: 978-0-8194-9470-2
Paper 86872H
Conference "Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices" (EAPAD) <2013, San Diego/Calif.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IOF ()
electroactive polymer actuator; piezoelectric polymers; drop-on-demand inkjet printing; lab-on-chip; micropump; silver nanoparticle

Piezoelectric electroactive polymers (EAP) are promising materials for applications in microfluidic lab-on-chip systems. In such systems, fluids can be analyzed by different chemical or physical methods. During the analysis the fluids need to be distributed through the channels of the chip, which requires a pumping function. We present here all inkjet-printed EAP actuators that can be configured as a membrane-based micropump suitable for direct integration into lab-on-chip systems. Drop-on-demand inkjet printing is a versatile digital deposition technique that is capable of depositing various functional materials onto a wide variety of substrates in an additive way. Compared to conventional lithography-based processing it is cost-efficient and flexible, as no masking is required. The actuators consist of a polymer foil substrate with an inkjet-printed EAP layer sandwiched between a set of two electrodes. The actuators are printed using a commercially available EAP solution and silver nanoparticle inks. When a voltage is applied across the polymer layer, piezoelectric strain leads to a bending deflection of the beam or membrane. Circular membrane actuators with 20 mm diameter and EAP thicknesses of 10 to 15 µm exhibit deflections of several µm when driven at their resonance frequency with voltages of 110 V. From the behavior of membrane actuators a pumping rate of several 100 µL/min can be estimated, which is promising for applications in lab-on-chip devices.