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 July 31, 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) 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