Flexible glass chip set to streamline medical devices

Flexible glass chip set to streamline medical devices

PROVO, Utah – Breakthrough research being done by a team of Brigham Young University electrical engineers could result in a chip with the potential to replace an entire medical diagnostic laboratory.

Dr. Aaron Hawkins’ research team has found a way to make glass bend enough to transport very small amounts of liquid. The chip would have the ability to scan and analyze any type of bodily or medical fluid in 10 seconds, giving doctors and patients more immediate results.

Research assistant and PhD candidate John Stout mentioned that this device could also serve as a mini-sized pump.

“Pumps at this scale haven’t been made before. We can’t control the flow of nano-liters of liquid very easily, so creating a device that is able to control nano-fluidic flow is pretty exciting,” Stout said.

This feature would allow analysts to direct and trap various extremely small particles of the liquid they need for testing, which would greatly reduce the amount of liquid, such as blood, used for medical testing.

Similar chips have been successful on a micro-level, but this research would be among the first to be successful on the smaller nano-level.

Glass is an ideal material for this chip because it is easy to clean, non-toxic, and allows the analysts to look at samples without modifying them.

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