Year/Course: 2007-2008, Lent 2008

Contact: Professor Charles Smith, Physics
Mentors: Dr. Jessica Morrod, Postgraduate Skills Training, Physical Sciences

Professor Charles Smith who works at the Cavendish Laboratory is the joint founder of a spin-out company, Cambridge Lab on Chip Ltd. Professor Smith and his team have developed a nanopump technology which uses low AC voltages to pump fluids though narrow channels. The company has performed some development work to show how the concept works and has patented the technology.

The nanopump technology works best when fluid needs to move at a slow speed between two reservoirs; it is not designed for rapid ejection of fluids. Having proved that the invention can be used in practice for microfluidic pumping, Professor Smith is now interested in identifying the best market and applications for the technology, since it can be used in a wide range of fields, including diagnostic and drug delivery (mostly expected to be in implants), methanol fuel cells and colour reflective displays.

The role of the i-Team will be to work with Professor Smith to identify the best uses for the nanopumps. The team will look at the three quite different areas that the inventors have already identified, as well as any other applications that prove to be appropriate.