Called "digital magnetofluidics," it promises more rapid, more accurate and less costly analyses of water and biological fluids blood, urine, saliva that require only miniscule amounts of fluids.
A detailed explanation of the process is presented in an article published in the July 17 edition of Applied Physics Letters, a leading international journal reporting on significant new findings in physics applied to engineering, technology and other sciences. The article, "Discrete Magnetic Microfluidics," can be viewed online at http://apl.aip.org/.
Digital magnetofluidics enables tiny drops of fluids to be manipulated on a silicon chip in ways that produce clearer pictures of the proteins, DNA, bacteria, viruses and chemicals present in liquids, explains Antonio Garcia, a professor in the Harrington Department of Bioengineering in ASU's Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.
The new method holds hope for significant improvements in such areas as prognosis and diagnosis of medical conditions and in testing of water sources for environmental hazards, Garcia said.
At ASU, Garcia is among scientists and engineers developing microfluidic and test-surface techniques. The team includes Mark Hayes and Devens Gust, both professors of chemistry and biochemistry, and Tom Picraux, who spent the past four years on the ASU chemical and materials engineering faculty before recently becoming chief scientist for the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico.
They were aided by ASU postdoctoral research fellow Solitaire Lindsay and graduate students Dongqing Yang, Pavan Aella and Ana Egatz-Gomez.