Philips Research Laboratories
Multiphysics modeling of a medical nebulizer device: the path from piëzo to droplet
In pulmonary drug delivery, medication in the form of a fine mist of droplets is inhaled by patients through their lungs to enter the bloodstream. This route is becoming ever more attractive as an alternative to mainstream drug delivery via injection or pills, also for other than lung diseases. A major challenge is that effective delivery is only obtained for a narrow range in droplet sizes. To address this, modeling has proven instrumental in our Research & Development project. A multi-physics model has been developed that spans the complete pathway from piëzo resonances, to pressure waves in the liquid medication, up to the dynamics of individual droplet formation. Our model allowed capturing space-time events inaccessible to experimental techniques. And, recent cluster computing techniques made it feasible to perform multi-dimensional parameter scans, allowing to identify critical parameters, and to disentangle their complex interactions.
Alwin R.M. Verschueren is a senior scientist at Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He has a passion and track-record for innovations in microsystem devices, combining both experimental and modeling work. He obtained his MSc degree in applied physics in 1997 from Delft University of Technology, creating the first carbon nanotube transistor. Then as a visiting scientist at the RIKEN institute in Tokyo worked on GaN blue laser diodes. After joining Philips in 1998, he worked on various liquid crystal display technologies, electronic ink e-paper, electrochemical technologies for water purification, and pulmonary drug delivery. Since 2004 he has been using COMCOL for modeling electrodynamics, electrochemistry and species transport, microfluidics and multiphase flow, structural mechanics and acoustics. He has published over 30 scientific articles and more than 30 patent applications.