A review of microvalves
This review gives a brief overview of microvalves, and focuses on the actuation mechanisms and their applications. One of the stumbling blocks for successful miniaturization and commercialization of fully integrated microfluidic systems was the development of reliable microvalves. Applications of the microvalves include flow regulation, on/off switching and sealing of liquids, gases or vacuums. Microvalves have been developed in the form of active or passive microvalves employing mechanical, non-mechanical and external systems. Even though great progress has been made during the last 20 years, there is plenty of room for further improving the performance of existing microvalves.