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NRG Fluids Seminar
Transcript of NRG Fluids Seminar
Why did our previous robot fail?
Were the robot's pumps working?
Design an Experiment
1. Fill the inlet reservoir with octanol.
Octanol will be seen in the outlet resevoir if the pump is functional.
2. Add a dye to the inlet channel and determine how long it takes for the dye to reach the outlet reservoir under a variety of conditions.
Varying laser intensity (if possible with current laser)
Varying the distance between the laser and the pump
Varying the laser's angle-of-incidence onto the pump
A 660nm laser is used to irradiate the pumps, leading to thermal deformation, and pumping of the fluid.
measures expected fluid velocity without pumping
indicates any effects on the fluid purely due to the laser and not the pump.
can be compared to the time obtained when the laser is applied to the pump
What are we testing?
a novel microfluidic pump made of SU-8
control a MEMS device
create movement in 2D
We want to mount a pair of pumps to a device in order to...
Theory of Operation
Fire 660 nm laser at SU-8 membrane causing thermal deformation
Deformation closes inlet valves, and fluid in the chamber is jetted out the back
Ejected fluid generates thrust, and propels the device forward
Pulse laser at 50 Hz to achieve steady thrust
Implementing the System*
*Robot not to scale.
2 pumps allow
for 2D movement
Actuate one pump at a time to turn left or right
Actuate both pumps to move straight forward
Control which pump(s) are being actuated by mounting focused laser emitter on high precision actuators
Choice based on a paper by Caglar on thermally attenuated SU-8 micro-calipers
When a laser is fired at the calipers, they expand and are able to grip objects
We're hoping to apply this theory to our pumps – thermally deform a thin membrane in order to create
a thruster for use in a
What are we doing with
Entering the ICRA Mobile Micro-robotics Competition 2012 in Minneapolis!
The Competition Involves...
For example; the2011 competition featured a figure-8 racing circuit.
from initial experimentation
Nickel was originally used as a base for the pump
The metal was not able to absorb laser beams. It just reflected them.
The laser beams didn't cause the pumps to deform.
SU-8 provided much better results, in terms of light absorption, thermal expansion, and pump deformation.
Our new model of robot has the pumps with SU-8 as the base.
So, who are we?
A student team / research group hybrid
A track record of success –- we claimed 1st place in the Microassembly Challenge at an IEEE Conference in May
A lot of undergrads –- 30 members strong, and looking to expand with grad students
A lot more than just a research team - we run several student and public outreach initiatives
Office of the Provost
The Imaging Source
How can you get involved?
We're currently looking for graduate students to join as
Fellows will be technical advisors to the group, and will provide invaluable experience in a laboratory setting
For more information, and to contact us, please visit