05-026: Instant Microfluidic Cell

Researchers at George Mason University's National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases have designed a new, simple, and inexpensive micro fluidic cell unit.

The micro fluidic cell consists of two parts: the first part provides an inlet, outlet, and channel(s); the second part is a flexible plate with a replaceable spacer that can be adjusted to the thickness of the micro array or other substrate placed on its surface. Unlike classic micro fluidic devices that consist of channels connected using glue or screws, the two parts of the cell are held together by external air pressures, making it easy to assemble and disassemble the unit.

Numerous devices could effectively employ this type of cell design. For example, the cell can be used for optical microscopic observations of cell adhesion to antibody array, and for bead-detection techniques (which involve the use of magnetic beads to locate and detect pathogens captured on antibody array).

Possible products:

1. Flow cell for evaluation of cells adhesion to surfaces.
2. Flow cell for scanning arrays with magnetic beads.
3. Flow cell for processing microarrays (hybridization, washing, etc.).
4. Microfluidic unit with disposable micro array for a multiplexed assay.
5. Micro-channel chambers for multiplexed electrophoresis.
6. Micro-channel system for capillary chromatography.
7. Special chambers for optical trapping.
8. A device for manufacturing arrays with the micro-stamp technique.

Market Significance:

The above described technology and products would benefit numerous types of organizations involved in manufacturing of devices for bio-medical research as well as laboratories involved in the development of tools for clinical diagnostics.


- Flow cell is simply designed and therefore is significantly less expensive than current models and is easy to manufacture and use.
- The flow cell is compatible with all known modes of optical microscopy providing access from both sides of the cell.
- When used in combination with antibody microarrays, provides ultra-rapid analysis for trace amounts of pathogens and toxins.
- When used in combination with a aerosol collector, can provide rapid detection of the presence of pathogens in the environment and may aid in signaling a biological weapons attack prior to victims presenting symptoms.