A Solution for Microfluidics: Contact-Free Magnetic Shape Memory Micropump
In the field of microfluidics there is a need for a simple pump that can consistently deliver small and precise volumes. Magnetic Shape Memory (MSM) Ni-Mn-Ga elements are a relatively new material that exhibit remarkable properties which can satisfy that need. They are capable of elongating and shortening by up to 10%, which is nearly 100 times greater than traditional piezoelectrics. Additionally, this mechanism is controlled by a magnetic field as opposed to an electric current, so no electrical contacts are needed.
A micropump has been constructed which consists primarily of an MSM element. This pump can be manually driven by rotating a diametrically magnetized cylindrical magnet. It delivers a consistent volume of fluid with each stroke, and the direction of flow can be reversed. The MSM micropump is biocompatible with the type of human DNA profiling used by crime labs. It does not inhibit polymerase chain reaction, but rather enhances it. Due to the simplicity of the design, the pump can be integrated with microfluidic devices: so called labs-on-a-chip. This combination of properties makes it a viable component for microfluidic devices.