An Integrated Pulsation-Free, Backflow-Free Micropump Using the Analog Waveform-Driven Braille Actuator

Kotaro Nishikata, Masataka Nakamura, Yuto Arai, Nobuyuki Futai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The widespread adoption of long-term organs-on-a-chip culture necessitates both active perfusions that mimic physiological flow conditions and minimization of the complexity of microfluidic system and fluid handling. In particular, flow in microtissue such as microvascular is free of pulsation and backflow. The refreshable Braille actuator-based integrated microfluidic system can be employed with simple microchannels and setups. However, due to high pulsatile flow and backflow, ordinary Braille-driven micropumps generate non-physiological flow conditions. We have described a simple method for creating steady flow employing Braille actuators driven with a high-voltage analog waveform, called “constant flow waveform”, without incorporating complicated structures into the microchannel or actuator. We determined the constant flow waveform by measuring volume change of microchannel caused by actuated Braille pins using a conventional fluorescent dye and microscope. Using the constant flow waveform, we demonstrated that a Braille-driven pump reduced pulsating flow by 79% and backflow by 63% compared to conventional Braille-driven pump. Furthermore, we demonstrated that a parallel pair of three-stranded pin pumps effectively eliminated backflow by driving two pumps with the constant flow waveform half-cycle shifted to each other. Moreover, by raising the driving frequency, we could increase the average flow rate to ~2× higher than previously reported flow rate of a typical Braille-driven micropump.

Original languageEnglish
Article number294
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb


  • Braille microfluidics
  • Constant flow waveform
  • Elastomeric pump
  • Integrated micropump
  • Perfusion culture
  • Piezoelectric pump

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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