A new technology combines a laser and electric fields to create tiny centrifuge-like whirlpools to separate particles and microbes by size, a potential lab-on-a-chip system for medicine and research. Here the technique is used to collect a bacterium called Shewanella oneidensis. (Credit: Purdue)

HEALTH & MEDICINE – Posted by Emil Venere-Purdue on Friday, January 11, 2013 11:25

Biochip vortex spins to sort bacteria by size

PURDUE (US) — By varying laser and electric fields, scientists can use tiny centrifuge-like whirlpools to separate particles and microbes by size.

The technology could bring innovative sensors and analytical devices for lab-on-a-chip applications, or miniature instruments that perform measurements normally requiring large laboratory equipment.

Rapid electrokinetic patterning (REP) is a potential new tool for applications, including medical diagnostics; testing food, water, and contaminated soil; isolating DNA for gene sequencing; crime-scene forensics; and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The researchers have used the method for the first time to collect microscopic bacteria and fungi, says Steven T. Wereley, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

“The new results demonstrate that REP can be used to sort biological particles but also that the technique is a powerful tool for development of a high-performance on-chip bioassay system,” Wereley says.

Read more: Futurity – Biochip vortex spins to sort bacteria by size.

Home           Top of page