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Published April 2007 | Published
Journal Article Open

Surface-Micromachined Parylene Dual Valves for On-Chip Unpowered Microflow Regulation


This paper presents the world's first surface-micromachined parylene dual-valved microfluidic system for on-chip unpowered microflow regulation. Incorporating a normally closed and a normally open passive check valve in a back-to-back configuration inside a microchannel, the dual-valved system has successfully regulated the pressure/flow rate of air and liquid without power consumption or electronic/magnetic/thermal transduction. By exclusively using parylene C (poly-para-xylylene C) as the structural material, the fabricated valves have higher flexibility to shunt flows in comparison to other conventional thin-film valves. A state-of-the-art multilayer polymer surface-micromachining technology is applied here to fabricate parylene microvalves of various designs. The parylene-based devices are completely biocompatible/implantable and provide an economical paradigm for fluidic control in integrated lab-on-a-chip systems. Design, fabrication, and characterization of the parylene dual valves are discussed in this paper. Testing results have successfully demonstrated that the microflow regulation of the on-chip dual-valved system can achieve a bandpass profile in which the pressure control range is 0-50 mmHg with corresponding flow rates up to 2 mL/min for air flow and 1 muL/min flow rate for water flow. This regulation range is suitable for controlling biological conditions in human health care, with potential applications including drug delivery and regulation of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma patients.

Additional Information

© 2007 IEEE. Reprinted with permission. Manuscript received June 28, 2006; revised September 1, 2006. [Posted online: 2007-04-10] This work was supported in part by the Engineering Research Centers Program of the National Science Foundation by NSF Award EEC-0310723. Subject Editor Y. Zobar. The authors especially thank T. Roper for his fabrication assistance.

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