Through a needle’s eye

Whether you want to simulate clouds or regulate tiny doses of medicine, German company Microdrop has developed the ink jet technique to dose liquid drops which are around 10,000 times smaller than those produced by traditional methods. The Microdrop technology can eject liquid drops between 30 and 100 micro m in diameter at a speed of up to 2,000 drops per second.

The core of the system consists of a glass capillary surrounded by a piezo actuator. Application of an electric impulse causes the actuator to contract and creates a pressure pulse of liquid inside the capillary. At the nozzle, this pulse is transduced into a motion which expels liquid at such high speed that the surface of the nozzle remains dry.

The technology can be used to dispense adhesive to bond microlenses (with dimensions of less than 1mm) to glass fibre in telecommunications industry.