“Laboratory on board” to help scientists conduct thousands of experiments simultaneously

2018-01-23

“Laboratory on board” to help scientists conduct thousands of experiments simultaneously

MIT scientists have created an alternative for microfluidic devices, which are often used in bioassays. The main task of the new device is to move droplets of bio- or chemical solutions around a surface with the help of an electric field. New system allows scientists to test thousands of reactions in parallel.

The main technical difficulty was to create a coating for the surface that reduce friction, allowing the droplets to move freely without sticking to other molecules.

As a result, the researchers covered the board with a thick layer of water-repellent material, which consists of small spheres of 1 micrometer each.

A special program controls the system; it allows the operator to specify all parameters of the experiment. It calculates the trajectory of the droplet moving and coordinates the subsequent movements. For example, substance 1 must be combined with substance 2 in these volumes, and then mixed with substance 3. The specialist does not interfere in the process, it is the task of the program.

 

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