MNP Seminar - Droplet microfluidics: a new type of chemical sensors for continuous monitoring

Dr Xize Niu, University of Southampton, will be presenting his work as part of the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics (MNP) seminar series.

Title Droplet microfluidics: a new type of chemical sensors for continuous monitoring

Abstract: Here I report a new type of continuous chemical sensors we have recently developed. We demonstrate that droplet microfluidics is well suited to miniaturize a variety of chemical and biochemical assays, forming a platform sensor technology for the monitoring of chemicals from liquids, with advantages of sampling in high frequency, analyzing in real-time and consuming low volume of regent. Continuous measurement of biomolecule/drug concentrations directly from tissue fluids, blood or other body fluids offers the exciting possibility of understanding physiological or pathological processes, drug metabolism, recording responses to stimuli, and even developing new therapies that use biomarker levels to guide treatment in real-time. However, such measurement is challenging - the fluids are complex mixtures, the volumes can be very small, and real-time detection methods are limited. Similarly, monitoring of water body for nutrients and pollutants is in demand but faces many challenges such as labor intensive manual sampling, expensive equipment and high maintenance. Droplet microfluidics can compartmentalize samples into nano litre droplets and perform assays in each of these droplets. Crucially Taylor dispersion and chemical contamination are avoided, and near real-time assays can be performed. We have engineered micro peristaltic pumps for robust and on-demand collection of fluidic samples, integrated optical sensors for colorimetric/fluorescent detection and electronics for data acquisition and wireless transmission. These sensor devices are autonomous, can be wearable or be deployed in field, to form a next generation of chemical sensor and sensor networks. As example applications, I will showcase continuous glucose/lactate measurement on human subjects from a wearable version of the sensor, and environmental sensors monitoring water quality (for nitrate, nitrite etc.) at estuary and rivers in realtime

Host: Dr Jung-uk Shim, e: