Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Manipulate Tiny, Floating Droplets on a Chip

10.12.2003


In an innovative study, researchers at North Carolina State University have designed a way to control the movement of microscopic droplets of liquid freely floating across centimeter-sized chips packed with electrodes. The discovery allows the performance of new types of chemical experiments on the microscale.

The breakthrough came as the researchers – Dr. Orlin D. Velev, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and two NC State doctoral students, Brian Prevo and Ketan Bhatt – learned how to circumvent friction by suspending the droplets of water inside a fluorinated oil, and then using electrical voltages to allow the liquid to hover over the electrical circuits of the chip. Switching the chip’s electrodes on and off – either manually or with the aid of a computer – lets researchers move the droplets across the oil surface to any location on the chip.

The chip also allows researchers to conduct experiments with mixed droplets, as liquids can be moved along different paths and then merged or encapsulated in oil or polymer droplets.



The discovery has wide-ranging scientific implications. Besides analyses and characterizations of chemical samples, the chip can serve as a tiny factory, Velev says, allowing researchers to mix droplets to test chemical reactions, for example, or add specific amounts of toxin to a cell to see how long it takes the cell to die. Velev is also eager to synthesize new particle materials or crystals inside liquids.

The research was published in the Dec. 4 edition of Nature.

“Moving droplets of liquid on solid surfaces as other researchers have done before us has a number of limitations,” Velev said. Other research in moving droplets on solid surfaces was stunted by friction if particles or solids were moved along the channels or solid surface of a chip. “But the freely suspended droplets on this microfluidic chip never touch solid walls and thus can act as reactors for materials synthesis or precipitation,” he said.

Velev’s interest in microfluidic chips stems from his lab’s work on growing self-assembling microwires by moving gold nanoparticles with alternating current in water, and his earlier work on using floating droplets as assembly sites for complex particles.

“Experiments and bioassays, or determinations of the presence or concentration of biological molecules, that we presently do with test tubes and beakers can now be done on the microscale. This device enlarges the scope and capabilities in the field of microfluidics, which is just a few years old,” Velev said.

The chip – which was simple and inexpensive to make, Velev says, and is reusable – has received a provisional patent, with application in place for a full patent.

The research is funded by Velev’s National Science Foundation Career Award and by an ARO-Stir grant.

Dr. Orlin Velev | NC State University
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Single-photon detector can count to 4
18.12.2017 | Duke University

nachricht New epidemic management system combats monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria
15.12.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

The body's street sweepers

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Fast flowing heat in layered material heterostructures

18.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

Life on the edge prepares plants for climate change

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>