August 24, 2007 — The U.S. Patent Office has granted Integrated Sensing Systems Inc. (ISSYS) a utility patent (US 7,228,735) titled “Fluid sensing device with integrated bypass and process therefor.” A major hurdle in commercializing microfluidic devices has been their limiting low flow rates, the company says. This patent describes a new method and design which allow microfluidic sensors to monitor and test relatively high flow rates of fluids. And, the company asserts, this invention greatly reduces the complexity of microfluidic packaging for high-flow applications.
Dr. Nader Najafi, ISSYS CEO, stated that “this patent is an important element in ISSYS’ comprehensive IP portfolio for fluidic applications. Our patents play a key role in providing major competitive barriers to entry at different levels from processing, to packaging, to final applications.” ISSYS
This patent also goes into detail on applying this technology to fuel cells including Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) and reformed fuel cells. The methanol sensor is based on ISSYS’ Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) technology. The sensor is used to improve the efficiency of the DMFC by keeping the methanol to water concentration at an optimum level throughout the operating life of the fuel cell.