Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Low-cost microfluidics can be a sticky problem

16.05.2006
A deceptively simple approach to bonding thermoplastic microchannel plates together with solvent could be used for low-cost, high-volume production of disposable "lab-on-a-chip" devices, according to researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and George Mason University (GMU).

Microfluidics is considered a highly promising technology for performing rapid and inexpensive chemical and biochemical analyses. The defining feature of microfluidics is the use of tiny channels less than a fraction of a millimeter wide to move samples and reagents through the device. For high-volume production, the channels likely will be molded or embossed in high-quality thermoplastic and then sealed with a cover plate. Bonding the two pieces together securely without blocking or altering the tiny channels is a key manufacturing issue.

One approach is to weld the two plates together by clamping them and heating the plastic to the point where the polymer chains begin to diffuse together. This requires just the right combination of time, pressure and temperature--which unfortunately has to be fine-tuned for each new lot of plastic. The other method is to weld the pieces with a solvent-type glue, like a model plane, but as model-builders will appreciate, the problem is keeping the glue where you want it and away from where you don’t want it.

In a recent paper in Analytical Chemistry,* a team from NIST and GMU suggest that the answer is simple: use the channels. They clamp the two plates together, inject a tiny amount of solvent at one end of the network of channels and apply vacuum at the other end. As the solvent is sucked through the channels, too fast to clog them, a minute amount is drawn between the plates by capillary action and welds them together. Total welding and incubating time: about 8 minutes. To demonstrate utility, the team successfully performed high-efficiency electrophoretic separation of 400-base single-strand DNA ladders, a typical microfluidics application, in the devices fabricated using the technique.

Michael Baum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov
http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/ancham/asap/abs/ac051883l.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

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

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>