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Liquid Metal Pump Does Away with Moving Parts

Researchers have developed the world’s first liquid metal-enabled pump with no mechanical parts.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Researchers at RMIT University have developed the world’s first liquid metal-enabled pump, a revolutionary new micro-scale device with no mechanical parts. The unique design will enable micro-fluidics and lab-on-a-chip technology to realise their potential in applications ranging from biomedicine to biofuels.

Lead investigator Dr Khashayar Khoshmanesh said there was currently no easy way to drive liquid around a fluidic chip in microfabricated systems. “Lab-on-a-chip systems hold great promise for applications such as biosensing and blood analysis but they currently rely on cumbersome, large-scale external pumps, which significantly limit design possibilities,” he said. “Our unique pump enabled by a single droplet of liquid metal can be easily integrated into a microdevice, has no mechanical parts and is both energy-efficient and easy to produce or replace.

“Just as integrated micro-electronics has revolutionised the way that we process information – enabling the development of computers and smart phones – integrated micro-fluidics has the potential to revolutionise the way we process chemicals and manipulate bioparticles at the micro-scale.”

The design uses droplets of galinstan – a non-toxic liquid metal alloy comprised of gallium, indium and tin – as the core of a pumping system to induce flows of liquid in looped channels. When the alloy is...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.