Continuous Reciprocal Flow in a Microfluidic Device for Efficient Mixing
Background: In certain microfluidic devices, continuous mixing of fluids is desirable depending on the application.
For example, in the conventional or passive hybridization method, a DNA microarray is placed in solution where the immobilized single stranded DNA probes hybridize with complementary target cDNAs in the surrounding stagnant fluid sample. Since DNA hybridization is a bimolecular reaction, it relies solely on the diffusion of target DNA molecules to the capture probes, which is a slow process.
Technology: University of California researchers have developed a unique microfluidic device that allows for the continuous mixing of fluids based on the internal pressure of the device. This technology may be used to attain faster and more sensitive DNA hybridizations. University of California researchers have shown that a number of flow-through methods have been tested and proven to improve the cDNA hybridization rate and sensitivity.
The advantages offered by this new mixing technology allows for the use of smaller sample volume resulting in more uniform results, and lower detection limits.
Application: This new microfluidic method of mixing fluids continuously in a microfluidic channel is more efficient and allows for more sensitive DNA hybridization which may result in more accurate results from the use of protein and gene expression profiling microchips. In addition this method may be used in other microfluidic applications such as microfluidic devices used to synthesize minute amounts of organic compounds.
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