We report a dielectrically actuated liquid crystal (LC) pump. A small volume of LC forms a pillar-like droplet in a cylindrical hole which partially touches the bottom substrate with embedded interdigitated electrodes. By applying a voltage, the LC droplet can be largely stretched along the electrode direction by the generated dielectric force, which in turn exerts a pressure to displace a small volume of fluid on the opposite side of the chamber. Once the voltage is removed, the LC droplet returns to its initial state. The LC droplet with such a reciprocating movement behaves like a pump. In this work, the actuation mechanism of the LC pump is presented and the performance evaluated experimentally. Our LC pump has the following advantages: simple structure, easy fabrication, compact size, high precision, low power consumption, and relatively fast response time. It is promising for applications in lens actuators, biotechnology, drug delivery, and other lab-on-a-chip devices.
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