UC Engineers Find Way to Build Durable Biochips from Plastic
Date: September 24, 2000
By: Chris Curran
Phone: (513) 556-1806
Photos by: Dottie Stover
Archive: Research News
Cincinnati -- Chong Ahn, an associate professor in the University
of Cincinnati College of Engineering, has developed a method for
using MEMS technology (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) to build
plastic microchips suitable for medical and other biological
Ahn will present a paper summarizing his findings
at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 during "BioMEMS and Biomedical
Nanotechnology World 2000" in Columbus, Ohio. The paper is "Novel
Structually Programmable Microfluidic Systems (sPROMs) Technology
for Plastic-based Disposable Smart Microchips."
talk, Ahn will explain how smart plastic biochips can be designed
with no moving parts using structurally programmable systems
(sPROMs). This makes the chips more durable, "smart," and
inexpensive enough to build disposable smart
Applications include blood testing, environmental
monitoring, and detection of biochemical warfare agents.
"Recently, there has been a large demand for the development
of disposable 'smart' biochips," said Ahn. Designing and
building the chips has been difficult, because smart biochips
usually require complicated controls over the movement of
Ahn and others at UC recently tested a novel system
using sPROMs technology. Their results indicate a smart biochip
based on plastic can be built which has no moving parts, yet
still provides considerable control. The key is creating
differences in pressure through the chip which can regulate the
flow of fluid through various passive valves and conduits.
Details on the design and fabrication of the plastic biochips
will be presented during the Columbus conference.
Funding: Ahn recently received a $3 million grant from the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to support
research in UC's Microsystems and BioMEMS Lab.