Methods and apparata for precisely dispensing microvolumes of fluids

U.S. Patent # 6874699 (2005)
Inventors: B.J. Larson, C.H. Lee, A.Lal, and M.G. Lagally.

Devices and methods for depositing fluids on substrates in patterns of spots, lines, or other features use a nozzle, which is preferably configured similarly to a micropipette, having a piezoelectric crystal or other ultrasonic actuator coupled to one of its sides. The nozzle may be charged via capillary action by dipping it into a well containing the fluid to be deposited, and may then be positioned over a desired area of a substrate, at which point activation of the ultrasonic actuator at ultrasonic frequencies will eject the fluid onto the substrate. The needle may subsequently be dipped into a well of rinsing fluid for cleaning. Spots or lines on the order of 5 micrometers width may be generated, making the invention particularly suitable for use in biological applications such as microarray production and in microelectronics applications such as the printing of organic circuitry.