Wednesday, January 27, 2010

US Patent 7651673 - Microtube pumping

This patent from the U.S. Dept. of Energy teaches a way to use laser pulses or ultrasonic wave to induce surface waves on microtubes or nanotubes and pump fluid. The technique is suggested to be useful to applications in drug delivery and hydrogen storage for fuel cells. Claim 9 reads:

9. A method for micro-pumping, comprising the following steps:

providing one or more microtubes, each tube having a first end and a second end;

imbibing the one or more microtubes with a media; and

creating surface waves on the one or more microtubes,

wherein the one or more microtubes has a defined length L, the surface wave has a defined frequency λ and wherein the ratio between L/λ is between about 2 and 32.