Computational Image Analysis of Guided Acoustic Waves Enables Rheological Assessment of Sub-Nanoliter Volumes

Tech ID: 31793 / UC Case 2020-165-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed an image analysis platform to measure the viscosity of nanoliter volume liquids.


Monitoring liquid viscosity is important in a range of applications from the formulation of paint to biomedical applications such as measuring blood viscosity. Conventional viscosity measurements often require several milliliters of sample volume, making them inapplicable for low-volume applications. Micro-rheology techniques have been proposed for analysis of microliter volume samples, but they require complex sample processing, are expensive, or require auxiliary equipment (such as bench-top optical lasers, atomic force microscopy) for analysis. Therefore, there is a need for a simple, viscosity analysis platform that can be used with nanoliter volume samples.


UCLA researchers have developed an acoustic-based image analysis platform to measure the viscosity of nanoliter volume liquid samples. The platform does not require the addition of reagents or labels and is contact-less, reducing the risk for sample contamination in biological studies. The platform may be integrated with microfluidics and lab-on-chip platforms for high-throughput characterization of bio-liquids.


  • Pharmaceutical development and quality control 
  • Blood viscosity measurement 
  • High-throughput characterization of bio-liquids 
  • Food industry quality control 
  • Material property characterization


  • Extremely small amount of sample needed 
  • Portable device and fast process 
  • Wide application from liquid materials to bio-liquid measurement

State Of Development

First successful demonstration was achieved.

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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  • Ozcan, Aydogan

Other Information


Image analysis, viscosity, rheology, microfluid, acoustic wave, high-throughput screening, nanoliter

Categorized As