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Problem Addressed

Various microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) use a supply of gases at precise flow rates and pressure levels to maintain a vacuum or to compress pockets of gas at low pressure. Currently, there are no microfabricated pumps that can deliver significant flow rates and vacuum levels. Traditional, i.e., cleanroom, microfabrication results in a number of complications including a high dead-to-total volume ratio, large hydraulic resistance, slow actuator pace, and significant valve leak rates. These issues lead to pressure drops in the pumps that negatively impact their performance and limit the vacuum generation capabilities of the pumps. Cleanroom microfabrication is also expensive and time-consuming, which makes them incompatible with low-cost applications. Through 3D printing, devices with the right geometries and materials can be monolithically created, resulting in high-performance devices.