Researchers at the Philips Research Laboratory in Eindhoven, Netherlands have found a way to build tiny electrical pumps into microfluidic devices, increasing the speed of fluid movement significantly. Efforts to control micro-flows using thermal gradients and centrifugal force have been far less useful than the new electrical pumps that require no current flow or moving parts.
The team put electrodes into the walls of tiny fluid channels and found that when voltage was applied over the cross section of a channel, liquid was drawn as fast as 12 cm a second. In the short run, the technique could lead to breakthroughs in printer technologies as well as fluid based displays, but the long-range uses of the technology, in conjunction with biochip technology, could be more significant.
Read the source article at newscientist.com.