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3D-printed Quake-style microvalves and micropumps

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Here we demonstrate a 3D-printable microvalve that is transparent, built with a biocompatible resin, and has a simple architecture that can be easily scaled up into large arrays. The open-at-rest valve design is derived from Quake's PDMS valve design. We used a stereolithographic (SL) 3D printer to print a thin (25 or 10 μm-thick) membrane (1200 or 500 μm-diam.) that is pneumatically pressed (∼3–6 psi) over a bowl-shaped seat to close the valve. We used poly(ethylene diacrylate) (MW = 258) (PEG-DA-258) as the resin because it yields transparent cytocompatible prints. Although the flexibility of PEG-DA-258 is inferior to that of other microvalve fabrication materials such as PDMS, the valve benefits from the bowl design and the membrane's high restoring force since it does not need a negative pressure to re-open. We also 3D-printed a micropump by combining three Quake-style valves in series. The micropump only requires positive pressure for its operation and profits from the fast return to the valves' open states. Moreover, we printed a 64-valve array constructed with 500 μm-diam. valves to demonstrate the reliability and scalability of the valves. Overall, we demonstrate the 3D-printing of compact microvalves and micropumps using a process that precludes the need for specialized, time-consuming labor.

Graphical abstract: 3D-printed Quake-style microvalves and micropumps

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 Jan 2018, accepted on 09 Mar 2018 and first published on 09 Mar 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8LC00001H
Citation: Lab Chip, 2018, Advance Article
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    3D-printed Quake-style microvalves and micropumps

    Y. Lee, N. Bhattacharjee and A. Folch, Lab Chip, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8LC00001H

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