Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Industry and Business News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
Liquid Pistons Could Drive New Advances In Camera Lenses And Drug Delivery

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed liquid pistons, which can be used to precisely pump small volumes of liquid. Comprising the pistons are droplets of nanoparticle-infused ferrofluids, which can also function as liquid lenses that vibrate at high speeds and move in and out of focus as they change shape. These liquid pistons could enable a new generation of mobile phone cameras, medical imaging equipment, implantable drug delivery devices, and possibly even implantable eye lenses. Credit: Rensselaer/Hirsa
by Staff Writers
Troy NY (SPX) Jan 11, 2011
A few unassuming drops of liquid locked in a very precise game of "follow the leader" could one day be found in mobile phone cameras, medical imaging equipment, implantable drug delivery devices, and even implantable eye lenses.

Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed liquid pistons, in which oscillating droplets of ferrofluid precisely displace a surrounding liquid. The pulsating motion of the ferrofluid droplets, which are saturated with metal nanoparticles, can be used to pump small volumes of liquid.

The study also demonstrated how droplets can function as liquid lenses that constantly move, bringing objects into and out of focus.

These liquid pistons are highly tunable, scalable, and - because they lack any solid moving parts - suffer no wear and tear.

The research team, led by Rensselaer Professor Amir H. Hirsa, is confident this new discovery can be exploited to create a host of new devices ranging from micro displacement pumps and liquid switches, to adaptive lenses and advanced drug delivery systems.

"It is possible to make mechanical pumps that are small enough for use in lab-on-a-chip applications, but it's a very complex, expensive proposition," said Hirsa, a professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer.

"Our electromagnetic liquid pistons present a new strategy for tackling the challenge of microscale liquid pumping. Additionally, we have shown how these pistons are well-suited for chip-level, fast-acting adaptive liquid lenses."

Results of the study are detailed in the paper "Electromagnetic liquid pistons for capillarity-based pumping," recently published online by the journal Lab on a Chip. The paper will be featured on the cover of the journal's February 2011 issue, and can be read online.

Hirsa's team developed a liquid piston that is comprised of two ferrofluid droplets situated on a substrate about the size of a piece of chewing gum. The substrate has two holes in it, each hosting one of the droplets. The entire device is situated in a chamber filled with water.

Pulses from an electromagnet provoke one of the ferrofluid droplets, the driver, to vibrate back and forth. This vibration, in turn, prompts a combination of magnetic, capillary, and inertial forces that cause the second droplet to vibrate in an inverted pattern.

The two droplets create a piston, resonating back and forth with great speed and a spring-like force. Researchers can finely control the strength and speed of these vibrations by exposing the driver ferrofluid to different magnetic fields.

In this way, the droplets become a liquid resonator, capable of moving the surrounding liquid back and forth from one chamber to another. Similarly, the liquid piston can also function as a pump. The shift in volume, as a droplet moves, can displace from the chamber an equal volume of the surrounding liquid.

Hirsa said he can envision the liquid piston integrated into an implantable device that very accurately releases tiny, timed doses of drugs into the body of a patient.

As the droplets vibrate, their shape is always changing. By passing light through these droplets, the device is transformed into a miniature camera lens.

As the droplets move back and forth, the lens automatically changes its focal length, eliminating the usual chore of manually focusing a camera on a specific object.

The images are captured electronically, so software can be used to edit out any unfocused frames, leaving the user with a stream of clear, focused video.

The speed and quality of video captured from these liquid lenses has surpassed 30 hertz, which is about the quality of a typical computer web cam. Liquid lenses could mean lighter camera lenses that require only a fraction of the energy demanded by today's digital cameras.

Along with handheld and other electronic devices, and homeland security applications, Hirsa said this technology could even hold the key to replacement eye lenses that can be fine-tuned using only high-powered magnets.

"There's really a lot we can do with these liquid pistons. It's an exciting new technology with great potential, and we're looking forward to moving the project even further along," he said.

Along with Hirsa, co-authors on the paper are Rensselaer doctoral graduates Bernard Malouin Jr., now with MIT's Lincoln Laboratory; and Michael Vogel, a private research consultant; Rensselaer mechanical engineering doctoral student Joseph Olles; and former postdoctoral researcher Lili Cheng, now with General Electric Global Research.



Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Space Technology News - Applications and Research



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


TECH SPACE
New Glass Tops Steel in Strength and Toughness
Berkeley, Germany (SPX) Jan 11, 2011
Glass stronger and tougher than steel? A new type of damage-tolerant metallic glass, demonstrating a strength and toughness beyond that of any known material, has been developed and tested by a collaboration of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)and the California Institute of Technology. What's more, even better versions of ... read more







TECH SPACE
Google buys eBook Technologies

Direct Observation Of Carbon Monoxide Binding To Metal-Porphyrines

Liquid Pistons Could Drive New Advances In Camera Lenses And Drug Delivery

How Do You Make Lithium Melt In The Cold

TECH SPACE
JICO Support System Receives Production Approval

Northrop Grumman Demonstrates MR-TCDL Capabilities

IBCS Completes Warfighter-Centered Design Exercises

Arianespace Will Orbit Sicral 2 Milcomms Satellites

TECH SPACE
ISRO To Launch Two Communication Satellites This Year

Arianespace Will Have A Record Year Of Launch Activity In 2011

2011: The Arianespace Family Takes Shape

ISRO To Launch Singapore's First Satellite In Orbit In February

TECH SPACE
China schools issue GPS phones to boost safety

Another GPS Software Upgrade Completed

GPSCaddy Golf App Now Offers Free Course Maps

ISRO To Implement Regional Navigation Satellite System

TECH SPACE
Runways change as magnetic north moves

Beijing to build second major airport

China's first stealth fighter makes maiden flight: reports

Bids in for British flight training system

TECH SPACE
Intel earnings soar with rise of "cloud" computing

Intel to pay NVIDIA billons in patent dispute

Greenpeace ranks 'greenest' electronics

Better Control Of Building Blocks For Quantum Computer

TECH SPACE
NASA Image Shows La Nina-Caused Woes Down Under

Google illegally gathered data in S.Korea: police

Sat-nav turtles go on trans-ocean trek

Cyclone Tasha Adds To Severe Flooding Over Eastern Australia

TECH SPACE
Gulf Methane Gas Concentrations Have Returned To Near-Normal Levels

UN warns over lead poisoning in northern Nigeria

Kenya bans plastic bags

Oceanic "Garbage Patch" Not Nearly As Big As Portrayed In Media


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement