California Institute of Technology

Biomedical Devices

Scaling study of micro-impedance pumps for medical devices and lab-on-chip technology

The valveless impedance pump is a device based on the Liebau phenomenon that has shown robust pumping performance across numerous size scales and system properties. In 2006, Forouhar et al. investigated the hypothesis that the valveless embryonic heart actually utilizes impedance pumping to circulate blood in a zebrafish embryo and the findings were published in Science. The valveless impedance pump is well suited for pumping sensitive biological molecules like blood cells and proteins, and prevents much of the damage caused by impingement on valves in other micropumping schemes. The benefits of the valveless impedance pump along with the evidence from Forouhar et al. that nature is already using this phenomenon on the microscale inspired the scaling studies of the impedance pump to better illuminate the physics of the phenomenon as it scales down in size to allow us to design practical and useful devices.

Mory Gharib

Professor Gharib focuses on quantitative visualization, bioinspired flow system, flow structure interaction, bubbly flows, and wind and hydro energy harvesting.