Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel connector uses magnets for leak-free microfluidic devices

Date:
November 19, 2009
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new, inexpensive, reusable and highly efficient microfluidic connector. The connector employs a ring magnet with a O-ring gasket on its bottom and a tube in its center set directly atop the inlet or outlet port of a microfluidic channel embedded in a glass chip. A disc magnet on the underside of the chip holds the first magnet -- and its tubing -- securely in place.

This photograph shows the use of the NIST magnetic connectors with a microfluidic device designed to generate liposomes. The microchip has five inlets and one outlet, all linked to tubing via the magnetic connectors. The inset at upper right shows the setup of the tube-magnet combination.
Credit: G. Cooksey, NIST

Like other users of microfluidic systems, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researcher Javier Atencia was faced with an annoying engineering problem: how to simply, reliably and most of all, tightly, connect his tiny devices to the external pumps and reservoirs delivering liquids into the system. While pondering this one day, he randomly picked up two magnets and began playing with them. As the magnets pulled apart and then snapped back together, Atencia realized that he had his solution.

In a paper recently published online in Lab on a Chip, Atencia and colleagues describe the result of that brainstorm: a new, inexpensive, reusable and highly efficient microfluidic connector. The NIST connector employs a ring magnet with a O-ring gasket on its bottom and a tube in its center set directly atop the inlet or outlet port of a microfluidic channel embedded in a glass chip. A disc magnet on the underside of the chip holds the first magnet -- and its tubing -- securely in place.

Unlike traditional approaches to connectors -- such as gluing the tubing directly to the chip or mounting a male/female connection with the tubing attached to the male portion -- the NIST magnetic connector is reusable; can be positioned anywhere on the chip; and eliminates any possibility of broken bonds that leak, chips cracked during heat curing of the glue, or microfluidic devices turned useless by excess glue entering the channels. Additionally, the reliability, flexibility and fast assembly of the NIST connector compares favorably to a recently developed press-fit system (where springs produce the sealing force) but the magnetic connectors cost hundreds of dollars less to build and operate.

As reported in their paper, the NIST researchers demonstrated the viability of their magnetic connector in a microfluidic device designed to generate liposomes (tiny bubble-shaped membranes that can be used to transport drugs throughout the body), a fairly port-intensive task. A solution of lipids suspended in isopropyl alcohol is pumped at a high rate into a microchannel through one inlet and hit with a buffer solution pumped in through four other ports. The convection and diffusion that occurs as the liquid streams mix produces liposomes that exit the microfluidic device through an outlet port. Magnetic connectors at the five inlets and one outlet were removed and reseated numerous times without any visible leakage.

The NIST researchers state that their magnetic connector is suitable for most microfluidic applications except those dealing with iron-containing (ferro) fluids, superparamagnetic particles (particles so small that their magnetic properties decrease with time and fluctuations in temperature), cells tagged with magnetic particles, or high-temperatures (greater than 80 degrees Celsius).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Atencia et al. Magnetic connectors for microfluidic applications. Lab on a Chip, 2010; DOI: 10.1039/b913331c

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Novel connector uses magnets for leak-free microfluidic devices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091118092626.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2009, November 19). Novel connector uses magnets for leak-free microfluidic devices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091118092626.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Novel connector uses magnets for leak-free microfluidic devices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091118092626.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nike fired most of its Digital Sport hardware team, the group behind Nike's FuelBand device. Could Apple or an overcrowded market be behind layoffs? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
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