Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lab-on-a-chip Technology: Microfluidics Aids Major Advance In Environmental Testing

Date:
August 6, 2008
Source:
National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS)
Summary:
Microfluidics experts have announced the development of a new generation of microfluidics-based environmental testing equipment for use in air quality monitoring.

Dolomite's microfluidic device with 7.5m of micro-channel running through a 10cm square piece of glass.
Credit: Image courtesy of NCAS

Microfluidics experts, Dolomite, in collaboration with the UK’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science have announced the development of a new generation of microfluidics-based environmental testing equipment for use in air quality monitoring.

Microfluidics is an exciting new field of science and engineering that enables very small-scale fluid control and analysis, allowing instrument manufacturers to develop smaller, more cost-effective and more powerful systems. With this lab-on-a-chip technology, entire complex chemical management and analysis systems can be created in a microfluidic chip and interfaced with, for example, electronics and optical detection systems.

Headed by Professor Alastair Lewis, the team from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science is undertaking initial studies to evaluate the feasibility of developing a portable microfluidics-based environmental testing module. Today’s air monitoring procedure usually requires the collection of air samples at remote locations, which then have to be returned to a laboratory for analysis using large and expensive gas chromatography instruments. The procedure is slow and costly. Professor Lewis’s research is aimed at developing a small-scale portable analysis system that will enable air quality to be analyzed and recorded in-situ. Such a system would have a dramatic effect on the speed of response to adverse changes in air quality.

"This is a great application of our technology," said Gillian Davis Regional Manager at Dolomite. "This is what microfluidics does best. It enables smaller, yet more powerful systems to be developed. Systems that may have been laboratory-based, can become more portable or even hand held, and at the same time can have increased accuracy and repeatability."

For this project Dolomite had to create a microfluidic device with an amazing 7.5m of micro-channel running through a 10cm square piece of glass. This is one of the largest devices and longest channels so far developed by Dolomite (this technology tends to be based in a smaller format). The fabrication processes used to create such a microfluidic device have some similarity to those used in the electronics industry.

The channels through which the fluids flow and interact are etched into materials such as glass or polymers using similar photolithography processes, for example. The patterned layers are then very accurately aligned and fused together and drilled to provide microscopic ports through which the chemicals or gases can enter and leave the device.

"The real challenge with this project was the fusing of such large etched glass plates," said Gillian Davis. "Aligning the plates to ensure the etched microchannels were perfectly matched took a great deal of experience and put our capabilities to quite a test."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). "Lab-on-a-chip Technology: Microfluidics Aids Major Advance In Environmental Testing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080805075616.htm>.
National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). (2008, August 6). Lab-on-a-chip Technology: Microfluidics Aids Major Advance In Environmental Testing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080805075616.htm
National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). "Lab-on-a-chip Technology: Microfluidics Aids Major Advance In Environmental Testing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080805075616.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins