Description:

Background

Over the past two decades, concepts of compartmentalization and miniaturization of analytical techniques are being explored. The microfluidic platform has several advantages including automated handling of samples in a short time, adjustable and minimal sample volume requirements. Hence, droplet microfluidics has rapidly emerged as an essential component in modern multifunctional Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) and micro-Total Analysis Systems (TAS) for a multitude of applications. This invention introduces a new droplet-based approach that incorporates a gas phase for generating liquid droplet microreactors in a microfluidic flow-focusing format. 

Technology Overview

Researchers at Northeastern have conceptualized a novel liquid-gas droplet-based LOC system that involves microfluidic generation of liquid compartments inside a continuous gas flow with capability of collection and handling of the droplets in a secondary liquid carrier. The device has multiple layers including: 

  • Generation unit is embedded within the middle layer where monodispersed liquid droplets are generated in a high-speed gas stream within gaseous fluid 
  • Collection unit: the airborne droplets are then collected within a second immiscible liquid phase in the platform 
  • Manipulation unit: the droplets undergo analytical tests or desired procedures 

Benefits

  • Uniform particle size droplet (50μm-100μm) generation 
  • Removes impurities 
  • High sensitivity 
  • High speed generation utilizing passive, flow-driven schemes for the generation (up to 100,000 droplets per second) 
  • Generating chip-based and oil-free droplets 

Applications

 The potential applications for this type of system include: 

  • Aerosol drug delivery by fabrication of functional microparticles (drugs) 
  • Digital PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) 
  • Food industry for: 
    • Detection of pathogens, toxins, chemical residues, and heavy metals 
    • Monitoring nutrients, simplified in vitro fertilization for animal breeding, animal health monitoring, vaccination, and therapeutics 
    • Sorting plant cells for improving crop quality and production, effectively deliver of biopesticides in agriculture 
  • Medical diagnostics (detection through breath analysis) 
  • Aerobiology 
  • Explosive and other threat detection 

Opportunity

  • License
  • Partnering 
  • Research collaboration
Patent Information:
Category(s):
Biotechnology
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
m.saulich@northeastern.edu
Inventors:
Pooyan Tirandazi Khalilabad
Carlos Hidrovo Chavez
Keywords: