Diaphragm pico-liter pump for single-cell manipulation

Yasser Anis, Jeffrey Houkal, Mark Holl, Roger Johnson, Deirdre Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A pico-liter pump is developed and integrated into a robotic manipulation system that automatically selects and transfers individual living cells of interest to analysis locations. The pump is a displacement type pump comprising one cylindrical chamber connected to a capillary micropipette. The top of the chamber is a thin diaphragm which, when deflected, causes the volume of the fluid-filled cylindrical chamber to change thereby causing fluid in the chamber to flow in and out of the micropipette. This enables aspirating and dispensing individual living cells. The diaphragm is deflected by a piezoelectric actuator that pushes against its center. The pump aspirates and dispenses volumes of fluid between 500 pL and 250 nL at flow rates up to 250 nL/s. The piezo-driven diaphragm arrangement provides exquisite control of the flow rate in and out of the capillary orifice. This feature, in turn, allows reduced perturbation of live cells by controlling and minimizing the applied shear stresses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-659
Number of pages9
JournalBiomedical Microdevices
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Microfluidics
  • Microinjection
  • Micropump
  • Pico-liter pump
  • Single-cell manipulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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