Wednesday, October 28, 2009

US Patent 7607455 - Nanofiber MEMS pump

This patent from IBM takes advantage of the flexibility and electrical conductivity of carbon nanotube mats to create an electrically actuated microfluidic pump. Claim 1 reads:

1. A micro-valve having an inlet and an outlet, said micro-valve comprising:

a lower chamber having a bottom wall and sidewalls and an upper chamber having a top wall and sidewalls, a bottom of said upper chamber separated from a top of said lower chamber by a porous, flexible and electrically conductive mat of nano-fibers;

an opening in said top wall of said upper chamber, said opening open to said upper chamber;

an impervious valve seal on said mat of nano-fibers, said valve seal below and self-aligned to said opening; an electrically conductive plate under and electrically isolated from said bottom wall of said lower chamber; a first electrical contact to said conductive plate; and

a second electrical contact to said mat of nano-fibers.