Advances in technology have allowed for the development of health diagnostics microdevices, but implementation of microdevices for drug delivery is relatively new. Continuous drug delivery often requires large and complex pumps, making development of micropumps desirable. Similarly, commonly used materials such as silicon are too expensive for mass production of disposable devices, and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is not compatible with some pharmaceutical drugs due to partitioning effects in the PDMS matrix. Thermoplastic incorporation into microdevices production is more cost-efficient compared to silicon and can be tuned to have a variety of chemical, optical, and mechanical properties in contrast to PDMS. In this research we tested the efficiency of a new biosafe drug dispensing microdevice which works with an incorporated microbubble pump system. The microbubble pump system uses electrolysis of water, in which water is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen to create a pressure change that displaces a volume of liquid equal to the volume of gas. Bubble pumps, unlike mechanical pumps, have no moving parts and are therefore more easily miniaturized. The devices are fabricated using a modified hot embossing method, developed by our lab, which allows microelectrodes integration into thermoplastic fluidic channels to create electrolysis chambers. Development of a functional microbubble pump that uses the advantages of thermoplastics will lead to improved development of biosafe drug dispensing microdevices.
Project end date: 01/27/20