Background

Microfluidic systems play a key role in the detection of chemical and biological warfare agents, as well as for environmental and industrial monitoring. A great advantage of the microfluidic systems is that they can combine sample collection, sample preparation and sample analysis all in one system. While a great deal of work has focused on the fabrication and function of microfluidic devices, there is still a growing need to develop miniature, portable, and deployable instruments that can be used in the field. In addition, one challenge in the production of a microfluidic system is the lack of compatible material that can be integrated together to form a single unit. The following invention offers a new approach to integrating multiple microfluidic components along with microfluidic circuits into complex systems

Description

Researchers at LLNL have invented a new method for forming microfluidic system platforms that allow the incorporation of various microfluidic devices into a single unit. The method involves creating channels, reservoirs, and ports using a polymer-based platform that allows for the interconnection of building blocks. Pre-fabricated structures such as T’s and elbows are used to interconnect the building blocks. Microdevices can be embedded or bonded to the platform, creating a versatile and easily scalable system with applications in a variety of settings. One advantage of the present invention is that it can integrate several functions into one system, including pumping, mixing, diluting, separating, filtering, sensing, etc. This allows for sample processing and analysis to be done on just one chip/module, reducing sample processing time. Further advantages of this technology include improved device yields; easier maintenance; reduced operations costs allowing for rapid mass production.

Krulevitch P et.al., Polymer-Based Packaging Platform for Hybrid Microfluidic Systems. Biomedical Microdevices 4:4, 301-308, 2002

The figure illustrates drawings of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) pump, driven by external, microfluidic pumps and valves. The device is fabricated by bonding four PDMS modules that are molded separately.

 

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Advantages
  • Several functions integrated into one system- pumping, mixing, diluting, separating, filtering, sensing, etc. allowing for sample processing and analysis on just one chip/module, reducing sample processing time
  • Improved device yields
  • Easier maintenance
  • Reduced operations costs allowing for rapid mass production
Potential Applications
  • Portable and deployable instruments for detecting chemical and biological agents
  • Biomedical diagnosis microdevice
  • Remote environmental monitoring
  • Electrophoretic separation
  • Cell cytometry
Development Status

LLNL has obtained a patent (US Patent 7,601,286) covering this technology (LLNL Internal Case # IL-10842)

Reference Number
IL-10842