Researchers build "lab on a chip" as diagnostic tool
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a way to produce a reusable "lab on a chip" as a diagnostic tool.
Described in a paper published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the all-in-one biochip combines microfluidics, electronics and inkjet printing technology and costs as little as 1 U.S. cent in production.
As a two-part system, it consists of a clear silicone microfluidic chamber for housing cells and a reusable electronic strip, and a regular inkjet printer that can be used to print the electronic strip onto a flexible sheet of polyester using commercially available conductive nanoparticle ink.
Noting that one chip can be produced in about 20 minutes, the paper's lead author Rahim Esfandyarpour, an electrical engineer by training and an research associate at the Stanford Genome Technology Center, explained that "we designed it to eliminate the need for clean-room facilities and trained personnel to fabricate such a device."
Designed to handle small-volume samples for a variety of assays and as a multifunctional platform, the tool can help analyze different cell types without using fluorescent or magnetic labels that are typically required to track cells by separating cells based on their intrinsic electrical properties, and can help capture single cells from a mix, isolate rare cells and count cells based on cell types.