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North Carolina State
University is seeking entrepreneurs in microfluidics or diagnostic devices to
commercialize a novel microfluidic battery.
With the desire to move many diagnostic tests from the
centralized lab to the patient, microfluidic devices have incredible potential
for widespread use in remote healthcare and other applications. Compact and
accurate lab-on-a-chip devices enable sensing and measurement in remote
locations and for patients who do not have access to centralized lab care.
However, a key hurdle to the widespread adoption of lab-on-a-chip devices is
their reliance on bulky and expensive components to actively pump, direct, and
control the fluids within them.
In an effort to overcome this hurdle, a group of engineers
from NC State University’s Biomedical Engineering Department have recently
developed a novel passive pump for microfluidic devices that can be customized
for a variety of applications. In contrast to other pumps, this pump requires
no external power or tubing and connects directly to the microfluidic device.
The pump is disposable and occupies a very small footprint. Spent pumps can be
replaced with fresh pumps if desired. The pump provides flow rates from 100
nL/min to 100 uL/min and can be programmed to stop flow after a fixed volume of
liquid has been pumped and to increase or decrease the flow at fixed intervals.
These programmable pumps are low-cost and could potentially be used as
plug-and-play for many microfluidic devices.
pumps as programmable hydraulic batteries for microfluidic devices
About the Inventors
Dr. Brian Cummins is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the
Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research areas include biomedical
microdevices, point-of-care diagnostics, optical biosensing, microfluidics,
glucose monitoring and fluorescence.
Dr. Frances Ligler is the Lampe Distinguished
Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Joint Department of Biomedical
Engineering at NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research areas include biomedical microdevices, regenerative
medicine, microfluidics, tissue-on-chip technology, optical analytical devices,
biosensors and nanotechnology.
Dr. Glenn Walker is an Associate Professor in the Joint
Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill. His research areas include biomedical microdevices,
bio-microelectromechanical systems (bioMEMs), microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip