We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
LGC Clinical Diagnostics

Download Mobile App

Self-Heating Microfluidic Devices Can Detect Diseases in Tiny Blood or Fluid Samples

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 15 Dec 2023
Print article
Image: The self-heating microfluidic devices can help detect diseases without expensive lab equipment (Photo courtesy of MIT)
Image: The self-heating microfluidic devices can help detect diseases without expensive lab equipment (Photo courtesy of MIT)

Microfluidics, which are miniature devices that control the flow of liquids and facilitate chemical reactions, play a key role in disease detection from small samples of blood or other fluids. Commonly known examples include at-home Covid-19 test kits, which use basic microfluidic technology. However, more complex microfluidic applications often require chemical reactions at precise temperatures. Typically, these advanced devices are produced in clean rooms and include heating elements made of expensive materials like gold or platinum, making the manufacturing process costly and challenging to scale. Researchers have now made a breakthrough by employing 3D printing to build self-heating microfluidic devices, potentially paving the way for the creation of affordable and efficient tools that could detect various diseases.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA) innovatively utilized multimaterial 3D printing to fabricate microfluidic devices with integrated heating elements. This development allows for precise temperature control of fluids moving through the device's microscopic channels. The method is highly customizable, enabling engineers to design microfluidics that heat fluids to specific temperatures or follow defined heating patterns in designated areas of the device. Remarkably, this cost-effective production method requires only about USD 2 worth of materials for each fully functional microfluidic device.

The dimensions of the device are comparable to a U.S. quarter, and its production is quick, taking only a few minutes. This advancement is particularly significant for remote or under-resourced areas in developing countries, where access to expensive laboratory equipment for diagnostic tests is often limited. Looking ahead, the researchers aim to incorporate magnets directly into the microfluidic devices. These embedded magnets could facilitate chemical reactions that require the sorting or aligning of particles. The researchers are also investigating alternative materials capable of achieving higher temperatures. This innovation in microfluidic technology represents a significant step towards more accessible and efficient diagnostic tools, especially in areas with limited resources.

“Clean rooms in particular, where you would usually make these devices, are incredibly expensive to build and to run,” said Luis Fernando Velásquez-García, a principal scientist in MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL). “But we can make very capable self-heating microfluidic devices using additive manufacturing, and they can be made a lot faster and cheaper than with these traditional methods. This is really a way to democratize this technology.”

Related Links:

Platinum Member
COVID-19 Rapid Test
OSOM COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test
One Step HbA1c Measuring System
Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Test
GPP-100 Anti-CCP Kit
Gold Member
Fully Automated Cell Density/Viability Analyzer
BioProfile FAST CDV

Print article


Molecular Diagnostics

view channel
Image: Prostate cancer cell image taken using a scanning electron microscope (Photo courtesy of LRI EM Unit)

New Discoveries of Prostate Cancer Evolution Pave Way for Genetic Test

Prostate cancer ranks as one of the most common cancers affecting men, and while it accounts for a significant number of male cancer fatalities, many men live with it rather than die from it.... Read more


view channel
Image: The Gazelle Hb Variant Test (Photo courtesy of Hemex Health)

First Affordable and Rapid Test for Beta Thalassemia Demonstrates 99% Diagnostic Accuracy

Hemoglobin disorders rank as some of the most prevalent monogenic diseases globally. Among various hemoglobin disorders, beta thalassemia, a hereditary blood disorder, affects about 1.5% of the world's... Read more


view channel
Image: The photoacoustic spectral response sensing instrument is based on low-cost laser diodes (Photo courtesy of Khan et al., doi 10.1117/1.JBO.29.1.017002)

Compact Photoacoustic Sensing Instrument Enhances Biomedical Tissue Diagnosis

The pursuit of precise and efficient diagnostic methods is a top priority in the constantly evolving field of biomedical sciences. A promising development in this area is the photoacoustic (PA) technique.... Read more


view channel
Image: The companies will develop genetic testing systems based on capillary electrophoresis sequencers (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

Sysmex and Hitachi Collaborate on Development of New Genetic Testing Systems

Sysmex Corporation (Kobe, Japan) and Hitachi High-Tech Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) have entered into a collaboration for the development of genetic testing systems using capillary electrophoresis sequencers... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2024 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.