Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Modular Stacked Variable-Compression Micropump

Technology #6718

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Seyed Amin Sandoughsaz Zardini
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-8202
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

A modular stacked variable-compression micropump has been developed at the University of Michigan. Gas micropumps are used in numerous applications such as health monitoring instruments, gas chromatographs and homeland security systems. However, despite technology advances, micropumps have not been able to replace meso-scale pumps due to their need for large area or high force actuators, lack of integrated actuation, high cost, and most importantly, slow pumping speeds and power and size inefficiencies. The modular stacked variable-compression micropump developed at the University of Michigan overcomes the aforementioned challenges.

Technology Details

Extant micropumps typically employ coplanar peristaltic designs to achieve desired pressure performance. The micropump technology developed at the University of Michigan is a method for realization of cascaded multistage micropumps in which the peristaltic nature of micropump is achieved by stacking the pumping modules on top of each other. Since each pumping chamber is operated using two membranes, the stacked pump provides twice the compression of a planar pump. The dual membrane compression/decompression eases the need for high force actuation. Further, compared to a planar pump, microvalves of the stacked pump only pump in the flow direction. More importantly, since only downward movement is expected from pump membranes, no symmetrical bidirectional membrane movement is required, and hence, the pump can operate off-resonance as well. The proposed design also provides the flexibility to change the volume ratio of the devices. Overall, the technique provides modularity over the number of cascaded stages, modularity over the volume ratio of each stage, doubled compression of each stage, off-resonance operation, high flow rates and high-pressure accumulation.


  • Homeland security systems
  • Health monitoring instruments
  • Gas chromatography systems
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Environmental monitoring systems


  • Modularity over number of cascaded stages
  • Modularity over volume ratio of each stage
  • Doubled compression of each stage
  • Off-resonance operation
  • High flow rate
  • High-pressure accumulation