Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Acoustic cell-sorting chip may lead to cell phone-sized medical labs
by Staff Writers
University Park, PA (SPX) Oct 05, 2012

Slightly larger than a dime, this cell-sorting device uses two sound beams to act as acoustic tweezers. Credit: Penn State and Ascent BioNano Technologies.

A technique that uses acoustic waves to sort cells on a chip may create miniature medical analytic devices that could make Star Trek's tricorder seem a bit bulky in comparison, according to a team of researchers. The device uses two beams of acoustic - or sound - waves to act as acoustic tweezers and sort a continuous flow of cells on a dime-sized chip, said Tony Jun Huang, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics, Penn State.

By changing the frequency of the acoustic waves, researchers can easily alter the paths of the cells. Huang said that since the device can sort cells into five or more channels, it will allow more cell types to be analyzed simultaneously, which paves the way for smaller, more efficient and less expensive analytic devices.

"Eventually, you could do analysis on a device about the size of a cell phone," said Huang. "It's very doable and we're making in-roads to that right now."

Biological, genetic and medical labs could use the device for various types of analysis, including blood and genetic testing, Huang said.

Most current cell-sorting devices allow the cells to be sorted into only two channels in one step, according to Huang. He said that another drawback of current cell-sorting devices is that cells must be encapsulated into droplets, which complicates further analysis.

"Today, cell sorting is done on bulky and very expensive devices," said Huang. "We want to minimize them so they are portable, inexpensive and can be powered by batteries."

Using sound waves for cell sorting is less likely to damage cells than current techniques, Huang added.

In addition to the inefficiency and the lack of controllability, current methods produce aerosols, gases that require extra safety precautions to handle.

The researchers, who released their findings in the current edition of Lab on a Chip, created the acoustic wave cell-sorting chip using a layer of silicone - polydimethylsiloxane.

According to Huang, two parallel transducers, which convert alternating current into acoustic waves, were placed at the sides of the chip. As the acoustic waves interfere with each other, they form pressure nodes on the chip. As cells cross the chip, they are channeled toward these pressure nodes.

The transducers are tunable, which allows researchers to adjust the frequencies and create pressure nodes on the chip.

The researchers first tested the device by sorting a stream of fluorescent polystyrene beads into three channels. Prior to turning on the transducer, the particles flowed across the chip unimpeded. Once the transducer produced the acoustic waves, the particles were separated into the channels.

Following this experiment, the researchers sorted human white blood cells that were affected by leukemia. The leukemia cells were first focused into the main channel and then separated into five channels.

The device is not limited to five channels, according to Huang.

"We can do more," Huang said. "We could do 10 channels if we want, we just used five because we thought it was impressive enough to show that the concept worked."

Huang worked with Xiaoyun Ding, graduate student, Sz-Chin Steven Lin, postdoctoral research scholar, Michael Ian Lapsley, graduate student, Xiang Guo, undergraduate student, Chung Yu Keith Chan, doctoral student, Sixing Li, doctoral student, all of the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State; Lin Wang, Ascent BioNano Technologies; and J. Philip McCoy, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. The National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award, the National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship and the Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science supported this work.

Related Links
Penn State
Computer Chip Architecture, Technology and Manufacture
Nano Technology News From

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

New method monitors semiconductor etching as it happens - with light
Champaign, IL (SPX) Oct 02, 2012
University of Illinois researchers have a new low-cost method to carve delicate features onto semiconductor wafers using light - and watch as it happens. "You can use light to image the topography and you can use light to sculpture the topography," said electrical and computer engineering professor Gabriel Popescu. "It could change the future of semiconductor etching." Chip makers an ... read more

China has no timetable for manned moon landing

Senior scientist discusses China's lunar orbiter challenges

NASA sees 'gateway' for space missions

Protection for Moon, Mars astronauts eyed

NASA rover checks in online from Mars

Russia, U.S. to send crew to ISS for year

From 'Bathurst Inlet' to 'Rocknest'

Gale Crater Set for Summer Heat Wave?

Virgin Galactic Acquires Full Ownership of The Spaceship Company

Wind delays Austrian's edge of space jump in US

Brazil's vibrant high-tech industry urged to go global

Uwingu's Crowdfunding Campaign Concludes

China Spacesat gets 18-million-USD gov't support

Tiangong Orbit Change Signals Likely Date for Shenzhou 10

China Focus: Timeline for China's space research revealed

China eyes next lunar landing as US scales back

Mission accomplished for ATV Edoardo Amaldi

ISS Partners Plan Yearlong Mission to Orbital Station

Space freighter burns up in suicide dive

Space freighter undocking set for Friday

SpaceX craft on way to ISS in first supply run

Orbital Begins Antares Rocket Operations at Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport

H-IIB Launch Service Privatization

Ariane rocket launches two telecom satellites

The Magnetic Wakes of Pulsar Planets

Stagnant Interiors Suppress Chances of Life on Super-Earths

Meteors Might Add Methane to Exoplanet Atmospheres

Two 'hot Jupiters' found in star cluster: NASA

Google, publishers end long-running copyright case

Apple even stronger a year after Steve Jobs death

Prehistoric builders reveal trade secrets

Space debris delays Japan's satellite experiment

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement