First Prize for World’s Smallest Silicon Pump

Munich, / May 29, 2007

The research group of Fraunhofer IZM’s Dr. Martin Richter has won first prize for its marketing concept for the world’s smallest piezoelectric micromembrane pump in the “Development Stage” of the Munich Business Plan Competition. The award carries a cash prize of 4000 Euro.

The jury selected the business plan from over 70 entries. The business plan sets out a concept for commercializing a micro-pump for liquids and gases, which despite its miniscule size is crucial for many future applications.

The micromembrane pump is employed in all applications in which tiny volumes of liquids or gases need to be transported and precisely dosed. For example, the pump solves an ongoing problem associated with microfuel cells: The fuel required for the energy conversion – for instance, methanol – can now be continuously oxidized in miniscule amounts. This not only increases the total system’s safety but also ensures the fuel cells function in an energy-efficient manner.

A need such a pump and dosing systems capable of handling miniscule volumes of liquid has existed for years in laboratory technology and exciting new applications are now also possible in medical technology. If such micropumps could be im-planted in the human body, treatment of countless chronic diseases would become much more effective, as they could dose lifesaving medicines and hormones and release these into the blood stream. Such developments are currently still ambition and are being researched to not only make an important contribution to the life sciences but to perhaps also win the next and final round of the Munich Business Plan competition – the “Excellence Stage“.