Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > “Liquid Pistons” Could Drive New Advances in Camera Lenses and Drug Delivery

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed liquid pistons, which can be used to precisely pump small volumes of liquid. Comprising the pistons are droplets of nanoparticle-infused ferrofluids, which can also function as liquid lenses that vibrate at high speeds and move in and out of focus as they change shape. These liquid pistons could enable a new generation of mobile phone cameras, medical imaging equipment, implantable drug delivery devices, and possibly even implantable eye lenses.  Video podcast (YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/rpirensselaer#p/a/u/0/X-xMxA5SpTs).
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed liquid pistons, which can be used to precisely pump small volumes of liquid. Comprising the pistons are droplets of nanoparticle-infused ferrofluids, which can also function as liquid lenses that vibrate at high speeds and move in and out of focus as they change shape. These liquid pistons could enable a new generation of mobile phone cameras, medical imaging equipment, implantable drug delivery devices, and possibly even implantable eye lenses. Video podcast (YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/rpirensselaer#p/a/u/0/X-xMxA5SpTs).

Abstract:
Versatile Liquid Pistons Developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Have No Solid Moving Parts, Essentially Eliminating Wear

“Liquid Pistons” Could Drive New Advances in Camera Lenses and Drug Delivery

Troy, NY | Posted on January 11th, 2011

A few unassuming drops of liquid locked in a very precise game of "follow the leader" could one day be found in mobile phone cameras, medical imaging equipment, implantable drug delivery devices, and even implantable eye lenses.

Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed liquid pistons, in which oscillating droplets of ferrofluid precisely displace a surrounding liquid. The pulsating motion of the ferrofluid droplets, which are saturated with metal nanoparticles, can be used to pump small volumes of liquid. The study also demonstrated how droplets can function as liquid lenses that constantly move, bringing objects into and out of focus.

These liquid pistons are highly tunable, scalable, and — because they lack any solid moving parts — suffer no wear and tear. The research team, led by Rensselaer Professor Amir H. Hirsa, is confident this new discovery can be exploited to create a host of new devices ranging from micro displacement pumps and liquid switches, to adaptive lenses and advanced drug delivery systems.

"It is possible to make mechanical pumps that are small enough for use in lab-on-a-chip applications, but it's a very complex, expensive proposition," said Hirsa, a professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer. "Our electromagnetic liquid pistons present a new strategy for tackling the challenge of microscale liquid pumping. Additionally, we have shown how these pistons are well-suited for chip-level, fast-acting adaptive liquid lenses."

Results of the study are detailed in the paper "Electromagnetic liquid pistons for capillarity-based pumping," recently published online by the journal Lab on a Chip. The paper will be featured on the cover of the journal's February 2011 issue, and can be read online at: xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=c0lc00397b

Hirsa's team developed a liquid piston that is comprised of two ferrofluid droplets situated on a substrate about the size of a piece of chewing gum. The substrate has two holes in it, each hosting one of the droplets. The entire device is situated in a chamber filled with water.

Pulses from an electromagnet provoke one of the ferrofluid droplets, the driver, to vibrate back and forth. This vibration, in turn, prompts a combination of magnetic, capillary, and inertial forces that cause the second droplet to vibrate in an inverted pattern. The two droplets create a piston, resonating back and forth with great speed and a spring-like force. Researchers can finely control the strength and speed of these vibrations by exposing the driver ferrofluid to different magnetic fields.

In this way, the droplets become a liquid resonator, capable of moving the surrounding liquid back and forth from one chamber to another. Similarly, the liquid piston can also function as a pump. The shift in volume, as a droplet moves, can displace from the chamber an equal volume of the surrounding liquid. Hirsa said he can envision the liquid piston integrated into an implantable device that very accurately releases tiny, timed doses of drugs into the body of a patient.

As the droplets vibrate, their shape is always changing. By passing light through these droplets, the device is transformed into a miniature camera lens. As the droplets move back and forth, the lens automatically changes its focal length, eliminating the usual chore of manually focusing a camera on a specific object. The images are captured electronically, so software can be used to edit out any unfocused frames, leaving the user with a stream of clear, focused video.

The speed and quality of video captured from these liquid lenses has surpassed 30 hertz, which is about the quality of a typical computer web cam. Liquid lenses could mean lighter camera lenses that require only a fraction of the energy demanded by today's digital cameras. Along with handheld and other electronic devices, and homeland security applications, Hirsa said this technology could even hold the key to replacement eye lenses that can be fine-tuned using only high-powered magnets.

"There's really a lot we can do with these liquid pistons. It's an exciting new technology with great potential, and we're looking forward to moving the project even further along," he said.

Along with Hirsa, co-authors on the paper are Rensselaer doctoral graduates Bernard Malouin Jr., now with MIT's Lincoln Laboratory; and Michael Vogel, a private research consultant; Rensselaer mechanical engineering doctoral student Joseph Olles; and former postdoctoral researcher Lili Cheng, now with General Electric Global Research.

This study was supported with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161

Copyright © Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Bruker Announces Acquisition of Nanoindenting Leader Hysitron: Acquisition strengthens Bruker’s leading position in nanoanalysis and nanomechanical materials characterization January 24th, 2017

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

News from Quorum: Experienced electron microscopist, David McCarthy, talks about working with Quorum and his use of their coaters and cryo-SEM preparation instrumentation January 24th, 2017

Tough aqua material for water purification: Decontamination of water with a robust and sustainable membrane assembled from 2 synergistically working components January 24th, 2017

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Zeroing in on the true nature of fluids within nanocapillaries: While exploring the behavior of fluids at the nanoscale, a group of researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research discovered a peculiar state of fluid mixtures contained in microscopic channels January 11th, 2017

Fabrication of a Miniature Paper-Based Electroosmotic Actuator November 29th, 2016

Researchers use acoustic waves to move fluids at the nanoscale November 15th, 2016

Researchers use temperature to control droplet movement: Method for moving fluids on a surface may find uses in condensers, microfluidics, and de-icing October 14th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

The speed limit for intra-chip communications in microprocessors of the future January 23rd, 2017

Traffic jam in empty space: New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum January 22nd, 2017

A toolkit for transformable materials: How to design materials with reprogrammable shape and function January 20th, 2017

Possible Futures

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

Harris & Harris Group Announces the Filing of Preliminary Proxy Materials Detailing Its Proposed Conversion From a BDC to a Registered Closed-End Fund January 24th, 2017

The speed limit for intra-chip communications in microprocessors of the future January 23rd, 2017

New, old science combine to make faster medical test: Nanoparticles and Faraday rotation allow faster diagnoses January 23rd, 2017

Academic/Education

Oxford Nanoimaging report on how the Nanoimager, a desktop microscope delivering single molecule, super-resolution performance, is being applied at the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology & Infection November 22nd, 2016

The University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria uses Deben tensile stages as an integral part of their computed tomography research and testing facility October 18th, 2016

Enterprise In Space Partners with Sketchfab and 3D Hubs for NewSpace Education October 13th, 2016

New Agricultural Research Center Debuts at UCF October 12th, 2016

Nanomedicine

New, old science combine to make faster medical test: Nanoparticles and Faraday rotation allow faster diagnoses January 23rd, 2017

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Announcements

Bruker Announces Acquisition of Nanoindenting Leader Hysitron: Acquisition strengthens Bruker’s leading position in nanoanalysis and nanomechanical materials characterization January 24th, 2017

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

News from Quorum: Experienced electron microscopist, David McCarthy, talks about working with Quorum and his use of their coaters and cryo-SEM preparation instrumentation January 24th, 2017

Tough aqua material for water purification: Decontamination of water with a robust and sustainable membrane assembled from 2 synergistically working components January 24th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

New, old science combine to make faster medical test: Nanoparticles and Faraday rotation allow faster diagnoses January 23rd, 2017

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project