Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New lab-on-a-chip device overcomes miniaturization problems

30.04.2014

UNSW Australia chemists have invented a new type of tiny lab-on-a-chip device that could have a diverse range of applications, including to detect toxic gases, fabricate integrated circuits and screen biological molecules.

The novel technique developed by the UNSW team involves printing a pattern of miniscule droplets of a special solvent onto a gold-coated or glass surface.


UNSW chemists printed the university's name using a novel technique they developed which involves fabricating a a pattern of ionic liquid droplets onto a gold-coated chip.

Credit: UNSW

"We use a class of 'green' solvents called ionic liquids, which are salts that are liquid at room temperature. They are non-volatile, so this overcomes one of the main problems in making useful miniaturised devices - rapid evaporation of the solvents on the chip," says Dr Chuan Zhao, senior author of the study.

"The versatility of our chips means they could have a wide range of prospective functions, such as for use in fast and accurate hand-held sensors for environmental monitoring, medical diagnosis and process control in manufacturing."

The research is published in the journal Nature Communications. It was carried out by Dr Zhao, Christian Gunawan and Mengchen Ge from the UNSW School of Chemistry.

Lab-on-a- chip devices, where chemical reactions are carried out on a miniature scale, are under intensive development because they offer the promise of faster reaction times, reduced use of materials and high yields of product. Evaporation of solvents on the chip, however, is a big problem because this can affect the concentration of substances and disrupt the reactions. Attempted solutions include containing the solvents within tiny channels or "walls", and having reservoirs to store extra solvent on the chip.

The "wall-less" design developed by the UNSW team - using non-volatile ionic liquids as solvents to fabricate a microarray of droplets chemically anchored to the chip - has several significant advantages.

"Ionic liquids are designer solvents and have wide application. We can now carry out many reactions or analytical procedures in ionic liquids at the micro-scale on a chip with enhanced yields and efficiency," says Dr Zhao.

"These microarray chips can be easily produced in high numbers and are very stable. They can survive being turned upside down and heated to 50 degrees and some can even survive being immersed in another liquid. These properties will be important for commercial applications, including storage and transportation of microchips."

The droplets of ionic liquid are about 50 micrometres across (about half the width of a human hair) and 10 micrometres high.

The UNSW researchers demonstrated several potential uses of the microarrays.

They showed the tiny droplets can act as rapid, sensitive monitors of the presence of a gas, due to their small volume.

They also demonstrated that metal salts dissolved in the droplets could be electrically deposited as microstructures, a technique which could be of use in fabrication of integrated circuits.

Some biological molecules added to the droplets also remained stable and active, opening up the possibility of using the microarrays for diagnostic purposes.

###

Media contacts:

Dr Chuan Zhao: +61 (2) 9385 4645, chuan.zhao@unsw.edu.au

UNSW Science media: Deborah Smith, +61 (2) 9385 7307, +61 (0) 478 492 060, deborah.smith@unsw.edu.au

Deborah Smith | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

Further reports about: UNSW droplets ionic liquids miniaturization reactions solvents stable technique tiny

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rice University lab runs crowd-sourced competition to create 'big data' diagnostic tools
30.06.2016 | Rice University

nachricht A protein coat helps chromosomes keep their distance
30.06.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Thousands on one chip: New Method to study Proteins

Since the completion of the human genome an important goal has been to elucidate the function of the now known proteins: a new molecular method enables the investigation of the function for thousands of proteins in parallel. Applying this new method, an international team of researchers with leading participation of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to identify hundreds of previously unknown interactions among proteins.

The human genome and those of most common crops have been decoded for many years. Soon it will be possible to sequence your personal genome for less than 1000...

Im Focus: Optical lenses, hardly larger than a human hair

3D printing enables the smalles complex micro-objectives

3D printing revolutionized the manufacturing of complex shapes in the last few years. Using additive depositing of materials, where individual dots or lines...

Im Focus: Flexible OLED applications arrive

R2D2, a joint project to analyze and development high-TRL processes and technologies for manufacture of flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been successfully completed.

In contrast to point light sources like LEDs made of inorganic semiconductor crystals, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are light-emitting surfaces. Their...

Im Focus: Unexpected flexibility found in odorant molecules

High resolution rotational spectroscopy reveals an unprecedented number of conformations of an odorant molecule – a new world record!

In a recent publication in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter...

Im Focus: 3-D printing produces cartilage from strands of bioink

Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints, according to a team of engineers. "Our goal is to create tissue that can be used to replace large amounts of worn out tissue or design patches," said Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Those who have osteoarthritis in their joints suffer a lot. We need a new alternative treatment for this."

Cartilage is a good tissue to target for scale-up bioprinting because it is made up of only one cell type and has no blood vessels within the tissue. It is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Quantum technologies to revolutionise 21st century - Nobel Laureates discuss at Lindau

30.06.2016 | Event News

International Conference ‘GEO BON’ Wants to Close Knowledge Gaps in Global Biodiversity

28.06.2016 | Event News

ERES 2016: The largest conference in the European real estate industry

09.06.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Modeling NAFLD with human pluripotent stem cell derived immature hepatocyte like cells

30.06.2016 | Health and Medicine

Rice University lab runs crowd-sourced competition to create 'big data' diagnostic tools

30.06.2016 | Life Sciences

A drop of water as a model for the interplay of adhesion and stiction

30.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>