Piezoelectric Silicon Micropump for Drug Delivery Applications
Subcutaneous injection is crucial for the treatment of many diseases. Especially for regular or continuous injections, automated dosing is beneficial. However, existing devices are large, uncomfortable, visible under clothing, or interfere with physical activity. Thus, the development of small, energy efficient and reliable patch pumps or implantable systems is necessary and research on microelectromechanical system (MEMS) based drug delivery devices has gained increasing interest. However, the requirements of medical applications are challenging and especially the dosing precision and reliability of MEMS pumps are not yet sufficiently evaluated. To enable further miniaturization, we propose a precise 5 × 5 mm2 silicon micropump. Detailed experimental evaluation of ten pumps proves a backpressure capability with air of 12.5 ± 0.8 kPa, which indicates the ability to transport bubbles. The maximal water flow rate is 74 ± 6 µL/min and the pumps' average blocking pressure is 51 kPa. The evaluation of the dosing precision for bolus deliveries with water and insulin shows a high repeatability of dosed package volumes. The pumps show a mean standard deviation of only 0.02 mg for 0.5 mg packages, and therefore, stay below the generally accepted 5% deviation, even for this extremely small amount. The high precision enables the combination with higher concentrated medication and is the foundation for the development of an extremely miniaturized patch pump.