Splay aligned liquid crystal network photoactuators for integrated microfluidic pumps

Christina Schmidleithner, Yuxin You, Filip Staniszewski, Stefan Schrittwieser, Dirk J. Broer, Johannes Rudolf Peham

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelBegutachtung


As lab-on-a-chip devices aim to incorporate complex and multi-step microfluidic workflows, active fluid control within these platforms is critical. We use a splay aligned liquid crystal network (LCN) photoactuator, capable of deformation upon blue light illumination, as a stimuli responsive material to create integrated fluidic elements. After optimization of the manufacturing parameters, a well-defined actuator material is attained. Illumination with a 455 nm light emitting diode (LED) at 41 mW cm−2 achieves deflection of a 3 × 8 × 0.05 mm LCN film by 380 µm, generating forces of 1.1 mN. The actuator response is stable over time and scalable by light intensity, temperature, and size of the LCN film. By combining with a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane, integration into a microfluidic chip is demonstrated and fluid movement of 77 nL in a 2 s stroke is attained. In a pumping setup, the LCN film functions as pumping membrane and two passive PDMS check valves complete the integrated micropump. Constant pumping rates of 0.1 µL min−1 are achieved. An advantage of this micropump setup lies in the non-contact actuation method, which allows for easy integration into microfluidic chips, without the need for chip-to-world connections. Furthermore, with the simple manufacturing procedure and the low operating power, important requirements for application in point-of-care settings are fulfilled.
FachzeitschriftSensors and Actuators B: Chemical
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 17 Apr. 2024

Research Field

  • Molecular Diagnostics


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