Gases dissolved in liquids can cause serious problems in chemical or biotechnological processes.For example, changes in pressure or temperature can cause the gas in the liquid to outgas, resulting in tiny gas bubbles in the liquid. These in turn may lead to falsified measurement values of the sensors, diminished compressing ability of the liquid, or lower performance of the equipment. In worst case the whole system may fail, for example if valves or tubes are blocked by gas bubbles.
The scientists at Fraunhofer Research Institution for Microsystems and Solid State Technologies EMFT in Munich have developed a self-sufficient micro degasser, capable of removing gas bubbles and dissolved gas from a liquid. The heart of the system is a silicon micropump developed at the Fraunhofer EMFT and integrated in the degasser. It is capable of producing negative pressures of up to -55 kPa, which is enough to create the necessary vacuum in the chamber and to maintain it during the degassing process.
A functional demonstrator of the micro degasser already exists, exhibiting a degassing efficiency of 50% at the flow rate of 50-200μl/min in the tests so far. It is equipped with two standard Luer connectors for the intake and drain, as well as an electronic interface for the voltage control of the micropump, thus allowing for uncomplicated integration of the degasser with most systems.