TITAN: a conducting polymer based microfluidic pump
The electromechanical actuation properties of polypyrrole have been utilized in the design and development of a low voltage fluid movement system for microfluidic channels. A confined concentric arrangement of polypyrrole actuators is used to induce fluid movement through an inner channel in a single unit. Series connection of these units and appropriate electrical connection/stimulation induces a novel peristaltic action that enables fluids to be pumped in a predetermined direction. Flow rates of up to 2.5 µl min−1 can be achieved against a back pressure of 50 mbar, which is sufficient to enable fluid movement in a glass capillary channel (diameter: 266 µm, length: 12.8 cm). The mechanism of fluid movement enables the use of low voltage devices (1 V) to drive fluid with an average power requirement of 8.7 mW.