Programmable Generation and Transport of Droplets on Microscale Surface Texture Ratchets
Introduction Advances in microfluidic technology are constantly opening doors to new and exciting applications. Currently, many laboratory processes can be combined on a single chip commonly only millimeters in size while manipulating liquid volumes of picoliter size or less. In order to effectively perform the many processes that may be required of a microfluidic system, various tools are required, such as pumps, valves, mixers, and ratchets. In particular, the development of ratchets and other microscale transport features have realized many effective, novel devices. Technology Description Professors Baskaran and Bohringer at the University of Washington have developed the methodology to differentially manipulate droplets of varying sizes using microscale surface texture ratchets. The controlled and selective transport and the merging of droplets have been demonstrated on the same microscale track. Additionally, the technology is capable of generating droplets from larger drops using vibration in conjunction with surface texture. Business Opportunity Microscale ratchets that can effectively transport droplets within microfluidic devices present opportunities for the development of Lab-on-a-Chip technology with applications that include chemical analysis, environmental monitoring, biomedical diagnostics, genomics, proteomics, rapid screening, and microreactor synthesis. This technology has the potential to improve processes requiring small fluid volumes, faster analysis times, compact systems, parallelization, and reduced handling times and material costs. Stage of Development A working prototype of a device using this methodology has been developed. Intellectual Property Position The UW has patents pending on this technology.
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