Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

New Lab-on-a-Chip Device Overcomes Miniaturisation Problems

Published: Thursday, May 01, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, May 01, 2014
Bookmark and Share
The novel technique involves printing a pattern of miniscule droplets of a special solvent onto a gold-coated or glass surface.

UNSW chemists have invented a new type of tiny lab-on-a-chip device that could have a diverse range of applications, including to detect toxic gases, fabricate integrated circuits and screen biological molecules.

 “We use a class of ‘green’ solvents called ionic liquids, which are salts that are liquid at room temperature.  They are non-volatile, so this overcomes one of the main problems in making useful miniaturised devices - rapid evaporation of the solvents on the chip,” says Dr Chuan Zhao, senior author of the study.

“The versatility of our chips means they could have a wide range of prospective functions, such as for use in fast and accurate hand-held sensors for environmental monitoring, medical diagnosis and process control in manufacturing.”

The research is published in the journal Nature Communications. It was carried out by Dr Zhao, Christian Gunawan and Mengchen Ge from the UNSW School of Chemistry.

Lab-on-a- chip devices, where chemical reactions are carried out on a miniature scale, are under intensive development because they offer the promise of faster reaction times, reduced use of materials and high yields of product.

Evaporation of solvents on the chip, however, is a big problem because this can affect the concentration of substances and disrupt the reactions. Attempted solutions include containing the solvents within tiny channels or “walls”, and having reservoirs to store extra solvent on the chip.

The “wall-less” design developed by the UNSW team - using non-volatile ionic liquids as solvents to fabricate a microarray of droplets chemically anchored to the chip - has several significant advantages.

“Ionic liquids are designer solvents and have wide application. We can now carry out many reactions or analytical procedures in ionic liquids at the micro-scale on a chip with enhanced yields and efficiency,” says Dr Zhao.

“These microarray chips can be easily produced in high numbers and are very stable. They can survive being turned upside down and heated to 50 degrees and some can even survive being immersed in another liquid. These properties will be important for commercial applications, including storage and transportation of microchips.”

The droplets of ionic liquid are about 50 micrometres across (about half the width of a human hair) and 10 micrometres high.

The UNSW researchers demonstrated several potential uses of the microarrays.

They showed the tiny droplets can act as rapid, sensitive monitors of the presence of a gas, due to their small volume.

They also demonstrated that metal salts dissolved in the droplets could be electrically deposited as microstructures, a technique which could be of use in fabrication of integrated circuits.

Some biological molecules added to the droplets also remained stable and active, opening up the possibility of using the microarrays for diagnostic purposes.



Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Benchtop Automation Trends
Gain a better understanding of current interest in and future deployment of benchtop automated systems.
The Rise of 3D Cell Culture and in vitro Model Systems for Drug Discovery and Toxicology
An overview of the current technology and the challenges and benefits over 2D cell culture models plus some of the latest advances relating to human health research.
Study Identifies How Brain Connects Memories Across Time
UCLA Neuroscientists have boost ability of aging brain to recapture links between related memories.
3-D Atomic Structure of Cholesterol Transporter
Researchers at UTSW have determined the 3-D atomic structure of a human sterol transporter that helps maintain cholesterol balance.
First Large-Scale Proteogenomic Study of Breast Cancer
The study offers understanding of potential therapeutic targets.
Can We Break the Link Between Obesity and Diabetes?
Columbia University researchers identify a key molecule involved in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Fungi – A Promising Source Of Chemical Diversity
Moulds and plants share similar ways in alkaloid biosynthesis .
How Prions Kill Neurons: New Culture System Shows Early Toxicity to Dendritic Spines
Boston University researchers have developed a cell culture system to study prions.
Great Migration and African-American Genomic Diversity
Study examines genetic data to analyze regional differences in ancestry.
Faster, More Efficient CRISPR Editing
UC Berkeley scientists have developed a quicker and more efficient method to alter the genes of mice with CRISPR-Cas9, simplifying a procedure growing in popularity because of the ease of using the new gene-editing tool.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!