This invention features a novel in-plane rotary bistable mechanism (IPRBM) that can produce rotational motion in microelectromechanical system (MEMS) devices. Designed particularly for use in microfluidic systems, this MEMS component overcomes the limited mechanical displacement provided by typical linear micromechanisms. Georgia Tech researchers have leveraged this IPRBM to produce a rotary gate microvalve that operates on a chip with a small sample volume, rapid response time, and low power consumption while maintaining a high flow rate. It relies on the bistable mechanism to provide rotary motion and regulate the flow path of the microvalve design. This rotary mechanism has several additional applications, including in opto-MEMS devices, biomedical devices, microlocks, and sensors.
- Versatile: Has an adaptable design that can be adjusted based on the substances in use, stability requirements, and shape of the device
- Efficient: Manages a high flow rate while maintaining a low power consumption
- Widely applicable: Demonstrates potential for use in a wide range of microdevices that require rotational motion
- Microfluidic systems
- Optical shutters and switches
- Angular sensors
- Biomedical devices
Micromechanisms are an important part of MEMS devices and are often integrated with an actuator to produce motion in various microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip technologies. Typically, MEMS components generate linear motion, as in accelerometers or object manipulators. The Georgia Tech research team, however, found that a rotary device could provide more power to move substances under study in lab-on-a-chip settings while still maintaining a high level of energy efficiency. Microvalves are essential components to provide control of fluid flow in miniaturized fluidic systems. Georgia Tech’s IPRBM also performs with minimal energy through a novel latching mechanism, a challenge for conventional components of microfluidic systems.