Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers build microfluidic devices using principles of electronic integration

31.10.2003


Advances in development of lab-on-chip devices, which shrink and potentially simplify laboratory tests like DNA analysis, have largely been tempered by the inherent complexity of the systems they are trying to replace. DNA analysis usually requires a laboratory full of instruments and several days to obtain results.



But now a team of researchers at Arizona State University report that they have made several advances in the area of microfluidic component design, fabrication and integration, bringing the technology to the point where DNA analysis could be done simply and in significantly less time than required today. The researchers are borrowing their ideas from what has become the king of small-scale integration – microelectronic integrated circuits (IC).

"We’ve basically taken some of the primary ideas of electronic integration and applied them to microfluidic devices. This new platform is called microfluidic IC," said Robin Liu, project manager at the Center for Applied Nano-Bioscience (ANBC) at the Arizona Bio Design Institute. "The novelty here is instead of having electrons flow between electronic chips, with microfluidics we have very tiny amounts of fluid moving between chips."


Liu and his colleagues detail their research findings in an article, "Development of integrated microfluidic system for genetic analysis." The article is the cover story of the October 2003 SPIE Journal of Microlithography, Microfabrication and Microsystems.

Liu said the advantages of integrated microfluidic devices include being able to build sophisticated devices from relatively simple parts, modularity of components, standardization of microfluidic chips and the ability to plug in and unplug specific parts of an overall system.

"Traditionally, every time you change the bioassay procedure in a microfluidic device, you have to redesign a whole chip," he explained. "This complicates everything, because then the fabrication process has to be changed, the integration has to be changed, the design has to be changed, everything has to be changed.

"Using an integrated circuit approach, we can exchange one of the components simply by unplugging it and plugging in a different one to achieve different functionalities of the overall system," Liu said. "It is a very flexible platform and any time you need to change the assay (a specific test) or you need to change the reactions, you just unplug the module and plug in a different module."

The article describes several approaches to the integration of complex functionalities in microfluidics. They include development of micromixers, microvalves, cell capture, micro polymerase chain reaction devices and new methods for making intricate, minute parts out of plastics.

But it is the integration, the bringing together of these disparate parts, to work in one overall, yet minute operating system, that is the most important advance, Liu said.

"From an integrations standpoint this simplifies assembly," he said. "Instead of putting every component onto a single device, one chip can be a microvalve, one chip can be a micropump. We actually build the overall system by assembling the pieces.

"Hopefully, this will be the standard procedure for microfluidics in the future," he added. "Just like the integrated circuit is the standard for microelectronics."

The end result would be a microfluidic device that can dramatically simplify some laboratory analysis procedures. For example, such a microfluidic device could be used to provide direct sample-to-answer analysis of DNA samples. That is, a lab technician would put a patient’s blood in one end of the device and it would provide DNA data (in hours or minutes instead of days) showing if the patient has a certain disease, cancer or HIV.

Such a fully integrated device would require no external pressure sources, fluid storage, mechanical pumps, or valves that are necessary for fluid manipulation, eliminating possible sample contamination and simplifying device operation. This device provides a cost effective solution to direct sample-to-answer genetic analysis, and thus has potential impact in the fields of rapid disease diagnostics, environmental testing and biological warfare detection.


ANBC, led by Frederic Zenhausern, applies advances in microfluidic technology to integrate all the necessary steps of nucleic acid analysis to enable molecular diagnostic systems. For example, ANBC is partnering with the Mayo Clinic, and IBM Life Sciences and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, to develop an integrated "nano-genomic" device for melanoma studies.

Source:
Robin Liu, 480-727-8168, Hui.Liu.4@asu.edu

Skip Derra | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asu.edu/asunews/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>