Laser-induced cavitation based micropump
Lab-on-a-chip devices are in strong demand as versatile and robust pumping techniques. Here, we present a cavitation based technique, which is able to pump a volume of 4000 μm3 within 75 μs against an estimated pressure head of 3 bar. The single cavitation event is created by focusing a laser pulse in a conventional PDMS microfluidic chip close to the channel opening. High-speed photography at 1 million frames s−1 resolves the flow in the supply channel, pump channel, and close to the cavity. The elasticity of the material affects the overall fluid flow. Continuous pumping at repetition rates of up to 5 Hz through 6 mm long square channels of 20 μm width is shown. A parameter study reveals the key-parameters for operation: the distance between the laser focus and the channel, the maximum bubble size, and the chamber geometry.