Integrated electrically operable micro-valve

  • US 6,149,123 A
  • Filed: 09/25/1997
  • Issued: 11/21/2000
  • Est. Priority Date: 09/27/1996
  • Status: Expired due to Term
First Claim
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1. A micro-valve, comprising:

  • a fluid guiding structure containing a fluid inlet port and a fluid outlet port;

    a fluid communication channel, formed within said fluid guiding structure, fluidically coupling said fluid inlet port to said fluid outlet port;

    an intermediary port, formed within said fluid communication channel, said fluid inlet port being fluidically coupled to said fluid outlet port valve through said intermediary port;

    a valve element, moveably positioned proximate to said intermediary port within said fluid communication channel;

    an energy conversion body defining a chamber enclosing a working fluid, said energy conversion body being at least partially formed of a semiconductor material, said energy conversion body including a flexible membrane mechanically coupled to said valve element; and

    a heater positioned within said chamber of said energy conversion body, said heater being positioned on a suspension structure that places said heater at approximately the center of said chamber, said heater selectively controlling the volume occupied by said working fluid, thereby providing for movement of said valve element in response to said flexible membrane to control fluid passage through said intermediary port.

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