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Lab on a chip: nueva microválvula basada en actuadores piezoeléctricos


Oferta Tecnológica
Un centro tecnológico español con una línea de investigación en microfluídica y nano/microtecnología ha desarrollado una matriz de microválvula que funciona con actuadores piezoeléctricos externos. Este dispositivo permite manejar fluidos con un volumen muerto mínimo. La microválvula fácilmente automatizable tiene una estructura de red configurable y un diseño muy compacto y escalable. Sus campos de aplicación incluyen control de fluidos, cultivo celular, biorreactores/microrreactores, administración de fármacos, etc. El centro, que ha solicitado la patente, está interesado en licenciar la tecnología a un socio del sector de biotecnología.


Lab on a chip: new piezoelectric actuators-based microvalve
A Spanish technology centre has developed a microvalve matrix operated with external piezoelectric actuators. The device allows handling fluids with a minimal dead volume. The microvalve has a configurable network structure with a very compact and scalable design. It can be applied in fluid control, cell culture, bioreactors/micro-reactors, drug delivery, etc. A patent is applied and the centre would like to license this technology to a partner working in the biotechnology sector.
A Spanish technology centre that has a research line on microfluidics and nano/microtechnology has developed a microvalve matrix based on an eight-channelled configurable structure. This device allows the flow of fluid while minimizing the dead volume. It is operated with external piezoelectric actuators and it has a configurable network structure, thanks to the use of disposable low volume microfluidics chips.

The device is easily automatable and scalable. In addition, it may be used in a wide range of purposes and situations; it uses standard connectors, it is user-friendly and it has a low manufacturing cost.

The main features of the microvalve´s design are hereby listed:

- It is a microfluidics chip (LoC - Lab on a chip) integrating microchannels, inlets and outlets covered by a deformable silicone membrane. When this membrane becomes deformed, inlets and outlets are opened/closed.

- The compact actuation system is based on cantilevers made of piezoelectric material.

This technology can be applied in a wide variety of sectors and applications, such as fluid control, diagnostics, cell culture, bioreactors/micro-reactors, chemical engineering, drug delivery...

The technology centre has already applied for the Spanish patent of this technology, and the PCT procedure has been already been initiated. They are looking for a biotechnology or biomedical engineering company to transfer the technology throughout an operating license. This company needs to have some development skills.

As part of the licensing agreement, the technology centre will also transfer the technical knowledge required to sell or to use this technology. In addition, the centre will also provide further technical assistance if required.
Advantages and Innovations:
The designed microvalve is small and compact. It includes a large amount of valves and inlet/outlet ports keeping its small size (115mm x80mm x 48mm).

The microvalve´s dead volume is quite low, which helps to reduce the loss of costly fluids.

It is automatable, scalable (construction of complex circuits through the use of blocks with a greater number of actuators and chips with more control elements) and ease to use. In addition, its configuration is very easy (it may be done only by changing a disposable chip).

The device´s cost is more reduced than others solutions existing in the market. This reduced cost and the easiness of configuration helps to use it for a great range of purposes. It is suitable for integration into a microfluidic system.

In addition, the low-cost disposable package for the materials in contact with the fluids minimizes cleanliness and sterilization tasks. It also has an excellent chemical resistance and it is available for multiples internal circuits connecting valves and ports and customizable on demand.
Stage of Development:
Prototype available for demonstration
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted
CommeR Statunts Regarding IPR Status:
Spanish patent applied for and the application procedure under the PCT system has been started.

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
- Type of partner sought:
Medium or big companies.

- Specific area of activity of the partner:
Biotechnology or biomedical engineering company.

- Task to be performed:
Integrate the microvalve in its own products or include it in its portfolio. The company should also acquire the technical knowledge required to sell or to use this technology.


Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
01002003 Electronic engineering
06002007 Ensayos in vitro, experimentos
06001002 Investigaciones clínicas, ensayos
06001013 Tecnología médica / ingeniería biomédica