The performance of a selective group of mini and micro-pumps has been evaluated for use in gas phase detection for the Micro-Chem-Lab™. Our major assessment criteria are: flow rate, pressure drop across the pump, and electrical current drawn by the pump. Two pumping configurations have been investigated: (1) upstream pumping to build up pressure head and (2) downstream pumping to draw vacuum. Four mini-pumps (T-Square, SP 250 EC, SP 135 FZ-4, and KNF Neuberger) have been studied. Each of these pumps has been tested to determine whether they meet our requirements of high head pressure, high flow rate, and low power consumption. We have also assessed different mechanisms for pumping gas in micro-domains — specifically, a valveless diffuser/nozzle micro-pump, a LIGA diaphragm micro-pump and a micro drag pump. However our preliminary findings reveal that these micro-pumps do not meet our minimal requirements for use in the μChemLab™.

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