Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Origami-inspired paper sensor could test for malaria and HIV for less than 10 cents, report chemists

Date:
March 8, 2012
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Inspired by the paper-folding art of origami, chemists have developed a 3-D paper sensor that may be able to test for diseases such as malaria and HIV for less than 10 cents a pop. The sensors can be printed out on an office printer, and take less than a minute to assemble.

Inspired by the paper-folding art of origami, chemists at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a 3-D paper sensor that may be able to test for diseases like malaria and HIV for less than ten cents a pop.
Credit: Photo by Alex Wang

Inspired by the paper-folding art of origami, chemists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a 3-D paper sensor that may be able to test for diseases such as malaria and HIV for less than 10 cents a pop. The sensors can be printed out on an office printer, and take less than a minute to assemble.

Such low-cost, "point-of-care" sensors could be incredibly useful in the developing world, where the resources often don't exist to pay for lab-based tests, and where, even if the money is available, the infrastructure often doesn't exist to transport biological samples to the lab.

"This is about medicine for everybody," says Richard Crooks, the Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry.

One-dimensional paper sensors, such as those used in pregnancy tests, are already common but have limitations. The folded, 3-D sensors, developed by Crooks and doctoral student Hong Liu, can test for more substances in a smaller surface area and provide results for more complex tests.

"Anybody can fold them up," says Crooks. "You don't need a specialist, so you could easily imagine an NGO with some volunteers folding these things up and passing them out. They're easy to produce as well, so the production could be shifted to the clientele as well. They don't need to be made in the developed world."

The results of the team's experiments with the origami Paper Analytical Device, or oPAD, were published in October in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and this week in Analytical Chemistry.

The inspiration for the sensor came when Liu read a pioneering paper by Harvard University chemist George Whitesides.

Whitesides was the first to build a three-dimensional "microfluidic" paper sensor that could test for biological targets. His sensor, however, was expensive and time-consuming to make, and was constructed in a way that limited its uses.

"They had to pattern several pieces of paper using photolithography, cut them with lasers, and then tape them together with two-sided tape," says Liu, a member of Crooks' lab. "When I read the paper, I remembered when I was a child growing up in China, and our teacher taught us origami. I realized it didn't have to be so difficult. It can be very easy. Just fold the paper, and then apply pressure."

Within a few weeks of experiments, Liu had fabricated the sensor on one simple sheet using photolithography or simply an office printer they have in the lab. Folding it over into multiple layers takes less than a minute and requires no tools or special alignment techniques. Just fingers.

Crooks says that the principles underlying the sensor, which they've successfully tested on glucose and a common protein, are related to the home pregnancy test. A hydrophobic material, such as wax or photoresist, is laid down into tiny canyons on chromatography paper. It channels the sample that's being tested -- urine, blood, or saliva, for instance -- to spots on the paper where test reagents have been embedded.

If the sample has whatever targets the sensor is designed to detect, it'll react in an easily detectable manner. It might turn a specific color, for instance, or fluoresce under a UV light. Then it can be read by eye.

"Biomarkers for all kinds of diseases already exist," says Crooks. "Basically you spot-test reagents for these markers on these paper fluidics. They're entrapped there. Then you introduce your sample. At the end you unfold this piece of paper, and if it's one color, you've got a problem, and if not, then you're probably OK."

Crooks and Liu have also engineered a way to add a simple battery to their sensor so that it can run tests that require power. Their prototype uses aluminum foil and looks for glucose in urine. Crooks estimates that including such a battery would add only a few cents to the cost of producing the sensor.

"You just pee on it and it lights up," says Crooks. "The urine has enough salt that it activates the battery. It acts as the electrolyte for the battery."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hong Liu, Richard M. Crooks. Paper-Based Electrochemical Sensing Platform with Integral Battery and Electrochromic Read-Out. Analytical Chemistry, 2012; 84 (5): 2528 DOI: 10.1021/ac203457h

Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Origami-inspired paper sensor could test for malaria and HIV for less than 10 cents, report chemists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308120024.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2012, March 8). Origami-inspired paper sensor could test for malaria and HIV for less than 10 cents, report chemists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308120024.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Origami-inspired paper sensor could test for malaria and HIV for less than 10 cents, report chemists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308120024.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
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