Micromachines2016, 7(2), 25; doi:10.3390/mi7020025 - published 8 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Herein, we assess the functionality of magnetic helical microswimmers as basic tools for the manipulation of soft materials, including microdroplets and single cells. Their ability to perform a range of unit operations is evaluated and the operational challenges associated with their use are established. In addition, we also report on interactions observed between the head of such helical swimmers and the boundaries of droplets and cells and discuss the possibilities of assembling an artificial swimming microorganism or a motorized cell.
Micromachines2016, 7(2), 24; doi:10.3390/mi7020024 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This topical review discusses recent development and trends on scanning micromirrors for biomedical applications. This also includes a biomedical micro robot for precise manipulations in a limited volume. The characteristics of medical scanning micromirror are explained in general with the fundamental of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for fabrication processes. Along with the explanations of mechanism and design, the principle of actuation are provided for general readers. In this review, several testing methodology and examples are described based on many types of actuators, such as, electrothermal actuators, electrostatic actuators, electromagnetic actuators, pneumatic actuators, and shape memory alloy. Moreover, this review provides description of the key fabrication processes and common materials in order to be a basic guideline for selecting micro-actuators. With recent developments on scanning micromirrors, performances of biomedical application are enhanced for higher resolution, high accuracy, and high dexterity. With further developments on integrations and control schemes, MEMS-based scanning micromirrors would be able to achieve a better performance for medical applications due to small size, ease in microfabrication, mass production, high scanning speed, low power consumption, mechanical stable, and integration compatibility.
Micromachines2016, 7(2), 26; doi:10.3390/mi7020026 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Centrifugal microfluidic or lab-on-a-disc platforms have many advantages over other microfluidic systems. These advantages include a minimal amount of instrumentation, the efficient removal of any disturbing bubbles or residual volumes, and inherently available density-based sample transportation and separation. Centrifugal microfluidic devices applied to biomedical analysis and point-of-care diagnostics have been extensively promoted recently. This paper presents an up-to-date overview of these devices. The development of biomedical centrifugal microfluidic platforms essentially covers two categories: (i) unit operations that perform specific functionalities, and (ii) systems that aim to address certain biomedical applications. With the aim to provide a comprehensive representation of current development in this field, this review summarizes progress in both categories. The advanced unit operations implemented for biological processing include mixing, valving, switching, metering and sequential loading. Depending on the type of sample to be used in the system, biomedical applications are classified into four groups: nucleic acid analysis, blood analysis, immunoassays, and other biomedical applications. Our overview of advanced unit operations also includes the basic concepts and mechanisms involved in centrifugal microfluidics, while on the other hand an outline on reported applications clarifies how an assembly of unit operations enables efficient implementation of various types of complex assays. Lastly, challenges and potential for future development of biomedical centrifugal microfluidic devices are discussed.
Micromachines2016, 7(2), 23; doi:10.3390/mi7020023 - published 1 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Based on the constraint and position identification (CPI) approach for synthesizing XYZ compliant parallel mechanisms (CPMs) and configuration modifications, this paper proposes a new fully-symmetrical XYZ CPM with desired motion characteristics such as reduced cross-axis coupling, minimized lost motion, and relatively small parasitic motion. The good motion characteristics arise from not only its symmetric configuration, but also the rigid linkages between non-adjacent rigid stages. Comprehensive kinematic analysis is carried out based on a series of finite element simulations over a motion range per axis less than ±5% of the beam length, which reveals that the maximum cross-axis coupling rate is less than 0.86%, the maximum lost motion rate is less than 1.20%, the parasitic rotations of the motion stage (MS) are in the order of 10−5 rad, and the parasitic translations of the three actuated stages (ASs) are in the order of 10−4 of the beam length (less than 0.3% of the motion range), where the beam slenderness ratio is larger than 20. Furthermore, the nonlinear analytical models of the primary translations of the XYZ CPM, including the primary translations of the MS and the ASs, are derived and validated to provide a quick design synthesis. Moreover, two practical design schemes of the proposed XYZ CPM are discussed with consideration of the manufacturability. The practical designs enable the XYZ CPM to be employed in many applications such as micro-/nano-positioning, micro-/nano-manufacturing and micro-/nano-assembly. Finally, a spatial high-precision translational system is presented based on the practical design schemes, taking the actuator and sensor integration into account.
Micromachines2016, 7(2), 22; doi:10.3390/mi7020022 - published 29 January 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We review the utility of centrifugal microfluidic technologies applied to point-of-care diagnosis in extremely under-resourced environments. The various challenges faced in these settings are showcased, using areas in India and Africa as examples. Measures for the ability of integrated devices to effectively address point-of-care challenges are highlighted, and centrifugal, often termed CD-based microfluidic technologies, technologies are presented as a promising platform to address these challenges. We describe the advantages of centrifugal liquid handling, as well as the ability of a standard CD player to perform a number of common laboratory tests, fulfilling the role of an integrated lab-on-a-CD. Innovative centrifugal approaches for point-of-care in extremely resource-poor settings are highlighted, including sensing and detection strategies, smart power sources and biomimetic inspiration for environmental control. The evolution of centrifugal microfluidics, along with examples of commercial and advanced prototype centrifugal microfluidic systems, is presented, illustrating the success of deployment at the point-of-care. A close fit of emerging centrifugal systems to address a critical panel of tests for under-resourced clinic settings, formulated by medical experts, is demonstrated. This emphasizes the potential of centrifugal microfluidic technologies to be applied effectively to extremely challenging point-of-care scenarios and in playing a role in improving primary care in resource-limited settings across the developing world.
Micromachines2016, 7(2), 21; doi:10.3390/mi7020021 - published 28 January 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Microfluidics is assumed to be one of the leading and most promising areas of research since the early 1990s. In microfluidic systems, small spherical magnetic particles with superparamagnetic properties, called magnetic beads, play an important role in the design of innovative methods and tools, especially in bioanalysis and medical sciences. The intention of this review paper is to address main aspects from the state-of-the-art in the area of magnetic bead research, while demonstrating the broad variety of applications and the huge potential to solve fundamental biological and medical problems in the fields of diagnostics and therapy. Basic issues and demands related to the fabrication of magnetic particles and physical properties of nanosize magnets are discussed in Section 2. Of main interest are the control and adjustment of the nanoparticles’ properties and the availability of adequate approaches for particle detection via their magnetic field. Section 3 presents an overview of magnetic bead applications in nanomedicine. In Section 4, practical aspects of sample manipulation and separation employing magnetic beads are described. Finally, the benefits related to the use of magnetic bead-based microfluidic systems are summarized, illustrating ongoing questions and open tasks to be solved on the way to an approaching microfluidic age.