During the past two decades, bio-physicists have had an increasing interest in finding out what happens when two bio-material solutions are mixed under high pressure. Compared to temperature, pressure makes more contributions to our fundamental understanding of the structure-function relationship of biological systems, because pressure produces only volume changes under isothermal conditions, and pressure results can then be interpreted in a more straightforward manner. Window-type High Pressure Optical Cell (HPOC) such as the one designed by Paladini and Weber have provided biophysicists with a powerful tool to understanding the structure-function relationships of biological molecules. However, the conventional HPOC is only good for single solution testing and does not allow for quick mixing and stirring of additional components while the specimen is under pressure. This research is to thoroughly study the feasibility of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) as an actuator to perform mixing and agitation functions; and five types of SMA actuators were designed, simulated and tested for unplugging and mixing purposes. To conduct this research, SMA helical springs were fabricated in house according to the design requirements. With different combinations of SMA tensile springs, SMA compressive spring and biasing spring, significant ranges of vibration were developed. To further improving mixing process, a unique hybrid design of SMA as an actuator to unplug the stopper and micromotor as a stir device to agitate the solutions was developed. Rapid mixing of 95% of total solution in 10 seconds was achieved under 300 bars. A new HPOC was designed according to the new cuvette with its new unplug and mixing mechanism. Our industrial partner, ISS, further modified our design for easy manufacturing reason and fabricated the HPOC which made SMA actuator mixing test under pressure possible. A complete testing of the new HPOC system to observe bio-reagent mixing and reaction under high pressure was conducted and the results were satisfactory.

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