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What is a Syringe Pump?

Syringe pumps, or syringe drivers, are motorised devices that accurately control the movement of a fluid from a syringe by mechanically inserting or retracting the plunger. Syringe pumps feature stepper motors which can accurately move a platform attached to the plunger of a syringe. The body of the syringe is held steady to the body of the unit so that the only movement is from the action of the motor.

Basic models can be used for the infusion (and sometimes withdrawal) of liquids at set rate, controlled simply by changing the speed of the motor. More sophisticated syringe pumps are equipped with onboard computers which allow you to program the motion of the stepper motor with multiple steps in order to automatically perform a set sequence.

Types of Syringe Pump

There are two main types of syringe pump. Laboratory syringe pumps and medical syringe pumps.

Medical syringe pumps are a type of infusion pump which use a syringe rather than an intravenous bag. They are used to administer medication or other fluids in the in vivo diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients. Medical infusion pumps often come with drug specific pre-sets and pre-programmed hard and soft limits designed to ensure the safety of the patient. Although they are relatively simple devices in principle, because patient safety is a concern with medical syringe pumps, medical professionals must be trained in their use. The main advantage of a medical syringe pump over the manual use of a syringe is that they can administer medication at a steady rate over a long period of time.

Laboratory syringe pumps (also referred to as scientific syringe pumps or research syringe pumps) are able to move small volumes of liquid with great precision. They can usually be programmed with complex routines, and some can be controlled using a computer and integrated with other pieces of equipment. Laboratory syringe pumps are designed to be versatile and adaptable. The range of possible applications of a syringe pump in research is vast and covers multiple fields, including thin film fabrication, mass spectrometry, flow chemistry, microfluidics, and more.

Although they are mechanically similar, laboratory syringe pumps are not interchangeable with those designed for use in vivo. All Ossila products are for laboratory and research and development use only, and should not be used on patients.

Single vs. Dual Syringe Pumps

As the name suggests, single syringe pumps are able to control one syringe, while dual syringe pumps can control either one or two syringes depending on the mode of operation. Some syringe pumps let you use each pump (whether on a single or dual pump model) to either continuously infuse or withdraw a liquid, or provide a pulsed flow.

A single syringe operating in steady and pulsed infusion and extrusion modes

Single Syringe Pump

  • Precise
  • Programmable
  • Multiple Modes of Operation

£1900 With Free Shipping

While they cost more than single pump models, dual syringe pumps give you a lot more options. For example, having two syringes allows you to precisely mix two different solutions, as shown below. This process can allow for accurate control of chemical reactions in processes such as microfluidics and, in addition, could also be used for producing emulsions of two immiscible solutions.

Solution mixing with a dual syringe setup

When combined with equipment such as check valves and solvent reservoirs, dual syringe pumps can be used for continuous pumping of a single solution. Syringe pumps like the Ossila Dual Syringe Pump allow each pump to be controlled independently of the other. This means that they can be used as a single syringe pump if required or, should the experiment require it, one pump can be set to infuse while the other is in withdrawal mode. In many ways, a good dual syringe pump is like having two single syringe pumps in a single unit.

Dual Syringe Pump

  • Highly Versatile
  • With Two Independently Programmable Pumps

£2400 With Free Shipping

Contributing Authors

  • Jon Griffin
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