Performance improvement of an AC electroosmotic micropump by hydrophobic surface modification

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This paper describes the improvement of bi-directional micropump velocity by deposition of a hydrophobic nanocomposite monolayer. A polymer base nanocomposite coating consisting of a homogeneous mixture of silicon nanoparticles in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is used to improve the hydrophobicity of the micropump surfaces. For hydrophobic nature of PDMS and the monolayer coating with nanoscale surface roughness, the hydrophilic surface of a biased AC electroosmotic micropump will transform to a hydrophobic surface. In our previous research the applied AC voltage, frequency, channel dimension, and electrode width were optimized (Islam and Reyna, Electrophoresis 33(7), 2012). Based on the prior results obtained for the biased AC electroosmotic micropump, the pumping velocity was 300 micron/s in 100-μm channel thickness for applied voltage of 4.4 V at 1 kHz frequency. Here in this work, improvement of the micropump velocity is investigated through a surface modification process. The highest velocity of 450 micron/s is observed by modifying the surface characteristics. This paper will also discuss the synthesis process and characteristics of the polymer base nanocomposite monolayer. In addition to hydrophobicity improvement, adding a thin nanocomposite monolayer will physically separate the electrodes from the pumping liquid, thus eliminating their reaction, which is usually observed due to the application of voltage. As a result, higher voltages can be applied to the electrodes and higher pumping rates are achievable.


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Microfluid Nanofluid