Material Physics Laboratory
Video shows water pumping through the syringe needle. It is seen how MSM µPUMP doses liquid cycle by cycle.
The Material Physics Laboratory specializes in the study of the magnetic shape memory (MSM) material Ni-Mn-Ga. The laboratory is under the supervision of Professor Kari Ullakko who demonstrated the MSM effect at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996 and continued to pioneer the field of MSM research.
The development of MSM applications and research that enables this development is the primary focus of the Material Physics Laboratory. The following is a list of current areas of research within the laboratory:
- Characterization and stabilization of Type II twin boundaries: Type II twins exhibit both a lower twinning stress and temperature independence in comparison to Type I twins. MSM applications which use Type II twins will be more efficient, require lower magnetic fields to operate and have similar performance across a range of temperatures.
- Measurements of twin boundary and actuating dynamics: Twin boundary motion is the key mechanism responsible for the MSM effect. Developing methods for controlling and characterizing this motion gives insight into viable applications where the high speed dynamics of Ni-Mn-Ga is an advantage.
- Exploration of the MSM effect on the nano- and micro-scale: Ni-Mn-Ga becomes an extremely competitive material at smaller dimensions. The processing of single crystalline samples into small particles, fibers and foils and the characterization of their performance demonstrate how future Ni-Mn-Ga applications can be developed at a similar scale.
- MSM µPUMP: it is primarily developed for biomedical and chemical applications. The pump can be integrated in a lab-on-chip and it does not require electrical wires for powering. The MSM µPUMP pumps fast and precicely volumes of 1 nL up to several milliliters per minute.
This research has been implemented in two applications actively being developed, the MSM micropump and the MSM energy harvester. The MSM micropump is a competitive solid-state micropump that has no moving parts: The Ni-Mn-Ga element is entirely responsible for the pumping mechanism, and it is operated by an external permanent magnet. The MSM energy harvester converts mechanical vibrations in the range of 0.1 – 2 mm into electric energy by using the magnetic anisotropy and twin boundary motion of the Ni-Mn-Ga element.