Researchers have created a new method of creating lab-on-a-chip devices, using store-bought wax paper (Photo: Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)
One of the microfluidic paper test strips, fluorescing blue to indicate the presence of hemoglobin (Photo: Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)
Lab-on-a-chip devices work by directing small samples of liquid through tiny “microchannels” embedded in a small platform, and are used for analyzing liquids in medical and scientific settings. Earlier this week, we reported on a high school teacher who has invented a way of creating such devices using transparency film and a photocopier. Now, scientists from Indiana’s Purdue University have announced a new method of making them using paper. While previous approaches have involved laying down lines of wax or other hydrophobic (water-repelling) material on hydrophilic (water-absorbing) paper, this method uses store-bought hydrophobic paper, and creates the microchannels by burning away the waterproof coating with a laser.
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