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 Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>