Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Linköping University invention simplifies home diagnostics

24.03.2011
Advances in medical diagnostic technology will likely allow individuals to perform preliminary medical diagnoses themselves, in their own home, in the future.

“The idea is to make complex diagnostic processes as simple to perform as modern-day pregnancy tests,” says Nathaniel Robinson, who leads the Transport and Separations Group at Linköping University in Sweden. Dr. Robinson and PhD student Per Erlandsson have invented an improved pump, called an electroosmotic pump, which can be placed in a “microfluidic chip”.

Such chips, sometimes called “lab-on-a-chip” devices, contain miniaturized versions of the beakers and test tubes found in chemistry laboratories interconnected by tiny pipes. Rather than using moving parts, the new pump moves fluids in these pipes via an electric current. The fluids to be pumped can be biological samples such as blood, urine or saliva for medical devices.

“The trick is to generate the ionic current that moves the fluid to be pumped without disturbing the cells, proteins, and other molecules in the sample,” according to Dr. Robinson.

To do this, the researchers have employed a type of electronically conducting plastic in the pump’s electrodes. The plastic can be electrochemically oxidized or reduced, acting as a transducer between the ions, the charge carriers in fluids, and electrons, which carry charge in metal wires. Traditional electroosmotic pumps use metal electrodes and the electrochemical reactions required are performed on the water in the sample itself.

By-products of this electrochemistry included oxygen and hydrogen gas bubbles, and the production of acid or base. Each of these by-products disturbs the microfluidic device and the fluid sample.

“This is primarily why electroosmotic pumps have not been more widely used in the development of medical devices,” says Robinson.

The researchers have shown that the pump can be operated repeatedly for extended periods of time, and can operate at relatively low voltages, so that small, portable diagnostic devices can be driven by batteries.

“Several microfluidics articles describe ways to work around the complications associated with integrated metal-electrodes. Here, the alternative reactions of electrochemically active electrodes give us the chance to remove the core problem, the electrolysis of solvent,” according to Per Erlandsson, who constructed the pumps.

The researchers have applied for a patent for the new invention and are currently looking for partners who have a need for such pumps in their lab-on-a-chip devices. The research is also described in an article appearing in the latest issue of the scientific journal Electrophoresis.

Simple-to-operate medical devices, that will ultimately enable preliminary self-diagnosis via automated testing kits, will likely become an important part of our healthcare system. Otherwise, we will have a difficult time financing healthcare for an aging population at current or expanded levels of service. For example, by automating and simplifying screening for diseases, such as cancer, a greater portion of the population can be screened, more cases will be caught early, and hospital resources can focus on treatment of individuals who are truly ill. This pump is a significant step towards realizing the devices that will make this possible.

More information: Kontakt:
Dr Nathaniel Robinson, +46-11 363479, nathaniel.d.robinson@liu.se
Pressofficer: Anika Agebjörn; anika.agebjorn@liu.se; +46-709 791 334

Anika Agebjörn | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/elps.201000617/full

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>