Electrostatic Actuator with Embedded Microfluidic Channels for Biological Applications | Rutgers University Innovation Ventures

Electrostatic Actuator with Embedded Microfluidic Channels for Biological Applications


Invention Summary:

Microsystem platforms for System-On-A-Chip devices often require the integration of multiple microfluidic functions, such as pumping and actuation components. Pneumatic actuation is commonly used due to the ease of fabrication with soft-lithography techniques. However, these methods do not provide complete actuation control for precise reproducibility and require off-chip pneumatic connections, resulting in loss of integration capabilities.

Rutgers researchers have developed a novel MEMS-micromachined Parylene-based electroactive membrane(s) (µPEMSs) with an embedded microfluidic channels system. The system comprises a freely supported Parylene-membrane composite with electrostatic actuation capabilities, the system includes sandwiched electrodes, for electrostatic actuation, and embedded microfluidic channels on top of the membrane composite going along the whole system and ending in fluidic reservoirs on each side. The system includes a ground electrode patterned at the bottom of the recess under the actuatable membrane composite, which functions as the air gap between the working electrodes (membrane composite and ground electrode). The system is fabricated utilizing a multilayer Parylene micromachining approach, including deposition, and patterning processes.

Market Applications:

  • Micro-fabrication for life science research like growing cells and cell sorting.
  • Organ-On-Chip technologies
  • MEMS technologies
  • Ink-Jet Printing


  • Comparing to other actuators (e.g., piezoelectric actuators), this system can be easily integrated into a lab-on-a-chip device
  • Efficient actuation as the µPEMS is integrated in the device during fabrication.

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Patent Information: