Over the years, we have developed countless solutions able to address complex technical challenges in ways that deliver both functional and commercial success.
Channels and mixers, droplet generation, passive geometry
Fluids behave in a predictable way in small channels following the physics of laminar flow and this allows repeatable and precise fluidic processes to be achieved. By connecting functional elements such as valves, chambers and ports with channels of low cross section, carry over and crosstalk between fluids can be minimised and nanoliter volumes of fluids can be manipulated and measured. By adding geometric features to the channels, mixers, passive valves and droplet generators can also be achieved
Valves, pumps, active geometry
In order to achieve greater control of the fluids within a cartridge, active membrane valves enable complex sequencing of multiple reagents. This allows the instrument to schedule flow via a pneumatic or mechanical interface with the cartridge. Similar membrane valves can be used to pump fluids around the cartridge by peristalsis or to achieve active flow regulation.
Sensors, electrodes, optical interface
Measurement of the process taking place on the cartridge can be achieved by various transduction methods. Commonly, electrodes are integrated to allow electrophoresis or electrochemical measurement. Optical interfaces can allow fluorescence measurements or UV activation of a chemical process. Additionally, complex sensors that cannot be fabricated directly on the cartridge can be interfaced by a gasket or adhesive creating a flow cell over your proprietary sensor, for instance.
Filters and traps
Commonly, the fluid on a cartridge contains solid bodies which must be isolated, such as cells in a blood sample that must be removed, bacteria that must be captured and analysed or magnetic beads that form part of a purification step. Precisely molded features within the channels can achieve this filtration or trapping, and functional membranes with nanometer scale pores can also be integrated. Other methods such as magnetic or electrophoretic particle manipulation can also be employed.
Most cartridges require storage of one or several reagents to perform the assay. Liquid reagents can be stored in reagent blisters using materials that protect the reagent from evaporation and degradation during storage. These are integrated into the cartridge ready to deliver their contents at the point of use. Dry reagents can also be stored within the cartridge with various drying techniques available to preserve the functionality of the reagent.