Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Resonance Triggered Acoustic Pump/Pressure Regulator

Technology #3879

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Mark A. Burns
Managed By
Jeremy Nelson
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending


Microfluidic systems are used in a variety of fields ranging from ink jet printing to biological assays. While miniaturization allows increased portability as well as minimization of required sample volumes, microfluidic systems often require actuating technologies that involve extensive external control equipment. For example, syringe pumps are used to drive fluid flow, but are not ideal for the control of complex integrated systems with multiple fluid inputs, as each input requires its own dedicated pump. As such, mechanisms for acoustically-driven control of fluid flow in integrated microfluidic systems have explored.


University of Michigan researchers have developed a new pumping method for microfluidics, based on principles of acoustic resonance and fluidic rectification. In this invention, pumping action is achieved via the interaction of three core pump components: a resonance cavity, which serves as an oscillatory pressure source when forced to oscillate at its resonant frequency; a fluidic rectifier, which converts an oscillatory pressure signal to a unidirectional signal; and an acoustic source. The pump design is simple, inexpensive to fabricate, and capable of generating a multitude of programmable pressure outputs from a single analog input.

Applications and Advantages


  • actuator mechanism for microfluidic systems


  • independently regulate multiple outlet pressures from a single acoustic signal
  • no moving parts
  • simple and inexpensive design