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Posted: September 6, 2007

Basic Patents Granted for Hitachi Chemical's Fluid Circuit Sheet "microARTs"

(Nanowerk News) Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:4217)(Head Office: Tokyo; President and CEO: Yasuji Nagase; paid-in capital: 15.4 billion yen) has obtained basic patents of its fluid circuit sheet of micro arranged tubes technology (µARTs), which is a sheet with wiring of the fine-diameter tubes in freely-moving configurations similar to printed wiring boards. This sheet can be used in the fields of analytical chemistry as well as medical.
In recent years, there has been an increase of demand of fine-diameter and high-integration in handling small amount of fluids (nanoliter to microliter). This increase in demand is attributed to the progress in analytical and synthetic chemical research, as well as to the trends of miniaturization and high-accuracy of the equipment in industrial and analytical fields. However, the development of the technology for the fine-diameter tubes used in numerous fields has been slow when compared with the progress of wiring technology with the high-integration of the printed wiring boards. Up to now, simple bundling of the tubes has been the primary method of the usage of the fine-diameter tubes.
Hitachi Chemical has successfully developed "µARTs", a fluid circuit sheet utilizing fine processing technology, which is perfected through the development of various electrical components. µARTs realizes freely-moving wiring of multiple fine-diameter tubes (internal diameter of approximately 50 micrometer to 1 millimeter), which are secured into the form of a sheet. Plastic, glass and various other materials can be selected for use as the tubes, making it possible to support a variety of customer needs, such as pressure and chemical resistance. Furthermore, since the tubes are used as the channels, multiple-level crossing and layering of the channels within the sheet is easily achieved, allowing for the formation of high-density channels. When using this sheet, the replacement of multiple tubes can be performed simply by replacing a single sheet, and new function such as temperature control can easily be added. As a result, multiple tubes can be handled as a single component, and the difficulty that has been experienced until now in handling multiple tubes has been eliminated. The development of µARTs is based on this revolutionary concept, and has led to the acquisition of basic patents.
Hitachi Chemical intends to enhance the patent network, including acquisition of international patent rights, and develop µARTs into products to meet the needs of the market and our customers in a near future. We aim to apply µARTs to various areas, such as the market for environmental analysis that requires precision in operation, as well as the market for home medical care that requires abbreviated analysis.
Source: Hitachi Chemical