Low power integrated pumping and valving arrays which provide a revolutionary approach for performing pumping and valving approach for performing pumping and valving operations in microfabricated fluidic systems for applications such as medical diagnostic microchips. Traditional methods rely on external, large pressure sources that defeat the advantages of miniaturization. Previously demonstrated microfabrication devices are power and voltage intensive, only function at sufficient pressure to be broadly applicable. This approach integrates a lower power, high-pressure source with a polymer, ceramic, or metal plug enclosed within a microchannel, analogous to a microsyringe. When the pressure source is activated, the polymer plug slides within the microchannel, pumping the fluid on the opposite side of the plug without allowing fluid to leak around the plug. The plugs also can serve as microvalves.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.