We have developed micropumps for microfluidics that use AC electric fields to drive aqueous fluid motion through micro channels. These pumps operate at relatively low voltages (~5–10Vrms), and high frequencies (~100kHz). They have several distinct advantages over the DC electrokinetic pumps. The low voltages make the pumps well suited for a wide variety of biosensor and “Lab-on-a-Chip” applications (e.g. PCR chip for DNA amplification). The high frequencies minimize electrolysis, so that bubbles do not form on the electrode surfaces, and do not contaminate the working fluid. The pumps can also be used as active valves or precision micro-dispensers.

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