Wireless microfluidic control with integrated shape-memory-alloy actuators operated by field frequency modulation

This research focused on wireless microfluidic control enabled by the selective operation of multiple bulk-micromachined shape-memory-alloy actuators using external radiofrequency magnetic fields. Each shape-memory-alloy actuator is driven by a wireless resonant heater which generates heat only when the field frequency is tuned to the resonant frequency of the heater. Multiple actuators coupled with the heater circuits that are designed to have different resonant frequencies in the range of 135–295 MHz are selectively and simultaneously controlled by modulating the field frequency to the resonant frequencies of the corresponding heaters. A wireless microsyringe device that has three actuator–heater components and a flexible parylene reservoir is developed. The 5 µl reservoir is squeezed by the 5 mm long cantilever-type actuators to eject controlled amount of liquid from the reservoir. Using the device with an acidic solution loaded in the reservoir, sequential modifications of the pH level in the liquid are experimentally demonstrated through the selective control of the three actuators. The thermal characterization of the actuator using infrared imaging shows a temperature increase of 50 °C in 4 s and the full activation of the actuator in 8 s with 300 mW field output power.

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