Energy-Free Concentrator And Energy-Free Pump For Micrometer-Scale System
Tech ID: 21407 / UC Case 2011-050-0
Microfluidic systems have broad applications in diagnostic testing industry., and microfluidic technology advancement desires increasing the detection sensitivity of the systems. The detection sensitivity has been improved by directly modifying the sensor or amplifying either the testing sample or results. However, the currently used amplification systems are complex and contribute to energy consumption.
For systems utilize microfluidic channels, a major challenge exists in how to drive test samples into the diagnostic chip.In most cases, external energy sources such as mechanical pumps, electronic power generators or high pressured gas driving forces are necessary.This also greatly limits the application of microfluidic systems, especially for the cost effective or portable diagnostic assay chips.
Researchers at the University of California, Merced have invented an innovative system and method designed to concentrate and transport components of aqueous mixtures such as artificial microsphere, cells and biomolecules to stable positions without external energy imparted on the system. Depending on the needs of the application, hydrophilic/hydrophobic surfaces can be arranged in specific orientations down to tens of micrometers. The proposed mechanism of action describes radial polarization of water molecules from those surfaces due to strong hydrophilic interaction; any constituents of the aqueous mixture are excluded by the water molecules and driven away from these surfaces. The exclusion ranges vary under different conditions: from several hundred micrometers to a few millimeters. Microfluidic channels are integrated with Nafion separation and concentration system.With this system and method applied in a prefatorial manor, the detection limit of diagnostic chips or MEMS sensors can be augmented. The novel system and method also provides other advantages for pumping samples in microfluidic channels without external pump systems.
The invention can be applied in numerous sensing/diagnostic chips technology including:
- pregnancy tests;
- blood tests such as blood-glucose tests for diabetics or blood cholesterol level tests for heart disease; and
- urinary drug tests, etc.
The innovative system and method provide a new approach for the components of aqueous mixture be redistributed and two times concentrated on sensor portion in microfluidic systems without external energy sources, and greatly improve the detection limit of the sensing systems.
The invention also enables the components of aqueous mixtures to be transported several hundred micrometers to a few millimeters without external energy input.It provides driving power to microfluidic systems and significantly increases the application flexibility.
- Brignoli, Michael
- Chen, Chi-Shuo
- Chen, Eric Yi-Tong
- Chin, Wei-Chun
- Farr, Erik
microfluidics, blood tests