Engineers from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and colleagues at the University of Basel, Switzerland, have designed and developed a compact, portable analytical instrument that can detect multiple ions and molecules down to a level of 300 parts per billion (ppb) in less than a minute (1).
Analyses of liquid samples that once required a full-sized laboratory can now be completed on a disposable plastic chip equipped with narrow fluidic channels and tiny sensors.
Copyright : 2013 A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering
The machine, based on lab-on-a-chip technology, needs only drop-sized liquid samples. The analysis is very quick, precise and sensitive, and can be performed remotely as no direct contact with the solution is necessary. As such, the device has widespread potential applications in the water, food and beverage, agriculture, environmental, pharmaceutical and medical industries.
“The instrument is now ready for commercialization,” says Kambiz Ansari, who led the research. “In this well-studied field, it is one of only a handful of actual lab-on-a-chip instruments reported so far.”
The easy-to-operate machine, which weighs only 1.2 kg, combines microchip electrophoresis (MCE) with a sensing technology known as a dual capacitively-coupled contactless conductivity detector (dC4D). The system first uses electrophoresis to separate ions and then detects the ions using dC4D. All analyses are performed in microfluidic channels consisting of capillaries inside polycarbonate plastic chips that are narrower than a human hair.
The beauty of the dC4D technology is its simplicity: it relies on remote conductivity measurements via a pair of electrodes. One electrode sends radio-frequency signals through a channel to the second electrode, and the signal received is read by a computer. Because the ions have charge, their resistance drops as they pass through the microfluidic channel, resulting in sudden peaks. Specially designed software then analyzes the data to provide both qualitative and quantitative information.
The instrument has two access compartments (see image). The front compartment houses a plastic chip and a replaceable cartridge detector for the testing; both are designed to eliminate noise. The back compartment houses the electronics and software, the data acquisition card and a battery that powers the instrument for up to 10 hours.
The researchers tested the instrument’s capability to measure inorganic ions in water, rabbit blood and human urine, as well as organic and inorganic acids in fruit juice. They assessed its accuracy against standard methods.
“We have been approached about licensing the technology by several companies active in clinical analyses and in the ornamental fish farm industry,” Ansari says. “And, we are hoping to further develop our system to achieve detection levels lower than 1 ppb by pre-concentrating the samples; we are also planning to introduce nanofluidics into the dC4D system.”
The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering
Ansari, K., Ying, J. Y. S., Hauser, P. C., de Rooij, N. F. & Rodriguez, I. A portable lab-on-a-chip instrument based on MCE with dual top–bottom capacitive coupled contactless conductivity detector in replaceable cell cartridge. Electrophoresis 34, 1390–1399 (2013).
From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside
Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences