Comparison of micro-dispensing performance between micro-valve and piezoelectric printhead

Jie Sun*, Jinh Hao Ng, Ying Hsi Fuh, Yoke San Wong, Han Tong Loh, Qian Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


In micro-dispensing applications, printhead activation mechanism, its design and operating parameters are integrated together to affect the droplet generation process. These factors give each printhead advantages and limitations over the others in specific fabrication. Hence, multiple printheads on micro level fabrication are preferred to perform multi-material dispensing task. In this paper, the mechanisms of two commonly used micro printheads, solenoid actuated micro-valve and piezoelectric printhead are discussed. Comprehensive experiments are conducted to characterize their performance and the results are analyzed so as to explore optimal droplet formation condition. With regards to the operational parameters' influence on droplet formation, micro-valve is investigated in terms of pressure, and operational on time, and piezoelectric printhead is investigated based on pulse amplitude, and width of driving pulse. Nozzle size, a key design parameter in the two printheads, is also studied according to its influence on dispensing capability. To facilitate dispenser selection, the two printheads are compared based on droplet size, droplet stability, droplet velocity, and dispensing viscosity of successful ejection. Other factors such as chemical compatibility, time consumption in determining optimal condition and reliability of dispensing process are also reported to play an essential role in this selection. Our investigation on the relationship between related parameters and dispensing performance will not only benefit dispenser selection in multi-material dispensing application, but also build a solid background to develop multiple printhead system for fabrication of bioengineering components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1448
Number of pages12
JournalMicrosystem Technologies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes

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