An electrochemical active valve

C.R. Rusu, Johannes G.E. Gardeniers, Michael Curt Elwenspoek, J.J. Kelly

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A novel electrochemical microactuator was developed, which operates as an active valve. The microactuator consists of an electrochemical cell and a membrane that deflects because of the pressure of oxygen gas generated by electrolysis. Relatively large pressures (up to tens of bars) can be reached with only low energy consumption (in the μW range). In a first prototype a Cu/aq. 1 M CuSO4/Pt system was used in an electrochemical cell with dimensions 2×2×1 mm3, fabricated with silicon micromachining and thin film deposition techniques. When the actuator was driven at 1.6 V and currents below 50 μA, pressures of 2 bar could be obtained within seconds, causing membrane deflections in the 30 to 70 μm range. It was found that, in order to improve the performance of the microactuator, it will be necessary to replace the Cu/Cu2+ electrode. A possible alternative is the Sb/Sb-oxide electrode. This system was studied cyclic voltammetry and the first results are promising.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)3367-3373
Number of pages7
JournalElectrochimica acta
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • METIS-111508
  • IR-14243
  • EWI-13477

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