Special Issue "Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics"

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A special issue of Diagnostics (ISSN 2075-4418).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jens Ducrée (Website)

Dublin City University, School of Physics Sciences, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland
Interests: microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technologies are commonly deemed a key enabler for high-performance future diagnostics. Amongst the techno-scientific advantages which are intrinsic to these miniaturised systems are: laminar flow conditions; enhanced, diffusion-advection controllable mixing and reaction kinetics; low sample and reagent volumes; availability of capillary flow and surface tension related effects; amenability for large-scale combinatorial assays; and scale matching on the micro-to-nano-range for large biomolecules and cells. On a system level, lab-on-a-chip technologies offer user-friendly sample-to-answer automation, single-use cartridges for potentially biohazardous samples, compact footprint, simplified instrumentation. These features empower use in decentralized point-of-care settings, for instance as portable devices in doctor’s offices, ambulances, patient self-testing at home and global diagnostics. Lab-on-a-chip platforms also bear a high potential to leverage next-generation companion diagnostics for personalized (stratified) medicine.

Dr. Jens Ducrée
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • lab-on-a-chip
  • molecular diagnostics
  • immunoassay
  • cell sorting
  • counting
  • microfluidics
  • nanofluidics
  • microhydrodynamics

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Disposable Microfluidic Virus Concentration Device Based on Evaporation and Interfacial Tension
Diagnostics 2013, 3(1), 155-169; doi:10.3390/diagnostics3010155
Received: 18 December 2012 / Revised: 12 February 2013 / Accepted: 20 February 2013 / Published: 28 February 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (724 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We report a disposable and highly effective polymeric microfluidic viral sample concentration device capable of increasing the concentration of virus in a human nasopharyngeal specimen more than one order of magnitude in less than 30 min without the use of a centrifuge. [...] Read more.
We report a disposable and highly effective polymeric microfluidic viral sample concentration device capable of increasing the concentration of virus in a human nasopharyngeal specimen more than one order of magnitude in less than 30 min without the use of a centrifuge. The device is fabricated using 3D maskless xurography method using commercially available polymeric materials, which require no cleanroom operations. The disposable components can be fabricated and assembled in five minutes. The device can concentrate a few milliliters (mL) of influenza virus in solution from tissue culture or clinical nasopharyngeal swab specimens, via reduction of the fluid volume, to tens of microliters (mL). The performance of the device was evaluated by nucleic acid extraction from the concentrated samples, followed by a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The viral RNA concentration in each sample was increased on average over 10-fold for both cultured and patient specimens compared to the starting samples, with recovery efficiencies above 60% for all input concentrations. Highly concentrated samples in small fluid volumes can increase the downstream process speed of on-chip nucleic acid extraction, and result in improvements in the sensitivity of many diagnostic platforms that interrogate small sample volumes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics)
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Open AccessCommunication Performance Evaluation of Fast Microfluidic Thermal Lysis of Bacteria for Diagnostic Sample Preparation
Diagnostics 2013, 3(1), 105-116; doi:10.3390/diagnostics3010105
Received: 10 December 2012 / Revised: 10 January 2013 / Accepted: 16 January 2013 / Published: 17 January 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (502 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Development of new diagnostic platforms that incorporate lab-on-a-chip technologies for portable assays is driving the need for rapid, simple, low cost methods to prepare samples for downstream processing or detection. An important component of the sample preparation process is cell lysis. In [...] Read more.
Development of new diagnostic platforms that incorporate lab-on-a-chip technologies for portable assays is driving the need for rapid, simple, low cost methods to prepare samples for downstream processing or detection. An important component of the sample preparation process is cell lysis. In this work, a simple microfluidic thermal lysis device is used to quickly release intracellular nucleic acids and proteins without the need for additional reagents or beads used in traditional chemical or mechanical methods (e.g., chaotropic salts or bead beating). On-chip lysis is demonstrated in a multi-turn serpentine microchannel with external temperature control via an attached resistive heater. Lysis was confirmed for Escherichia coli by fluorescent viability assay, release of ATP measured with bioluminescent assay, release of DNA measured by fluorometry and qPCR, as well as bacterial culture. Results comparable to standard lysis techniques were achievable at temperatures greater than 65 °C and heating durations between 1 and 60 s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics)
Open AccessArticle Detection of Dissolved Lactose Employing an Optofluidic Micro-System
Diagnostics 2012, 2(4), 97-106; doi:10.3390/diagnostics2040097
Received: 2 October 2012 / Revised: 26 November 2012 / Accepted: 3 December 2012 / Published: 6 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (10122 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, a novel optofluidic sensor principle is employed for a non-invasive and label-free characterization of lactose containing liquid samples. Especially for medicine and food industry, a simple, fast and accurate determination of the amount of lactose in various products is [...] Read more.
In this work, a novel optofluidic sensor principle is employed for a non-invasive and label-free characterization of lactose containing liquid samples. Especially for medicine and food industry, a simple, fast and accurate determination of the amount of lactose in various products is highly desirable. The presented system exploits the impact of dissolved molecules on the refractive index for sample characterization. On the optofluidic chip, a microfluidic channel filled with the analyte is hit by slightly diverging laser light. The center incident angle of the beam on-chip is set close to the critical angle for total internal reflection. Both the reflected and the transmitted light signals are recorded at the solid-liquid interface. The ratio of those two signals is then used as representative value for the analyte. Using this principle, lactose containing samples were differentiated based on their concentrations at a step size of 10 mmol/L. The use of the signals ratio instead of a single signal approach improves the stability of the system significantly, allowing for higher resolutions to be achieved. Furthermore, the fabrication of the devices in PDMS ensures biocompatibility and provides low absorbance of light in the visible range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics)
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Open AccessArticle Gold Nanoparticles-Coated SU-8 for Sensitive Fluorescence-Based Detections of DNA
Diagnostics 2012, 2(4), 72-82; doi:10.3390/diagnostics2040072
Received: 26 September 2012 / Revised: 24 October 2012 / Accepted: 26 November 2012 / Published: 29 November 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (716 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
SU-8 epoxy-based negative photoresist has been extensively employed as a structural material for fabrication of numerous biological microelectro-mechanical systems (Bio-MEMS) or lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices. However, SU-8 has a high autofluorescence level that limits sensitivity of microdevices that use fluorescence as the predominant [...] Read more.
SU-8 epoxy-based negative photoresist has been extensively employed as a structural material for fabrication of numerous biological microelectro-mechanical systems (Bio-MEMS) or lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices. However, SU-8 has a high autofluorescence level that limits sensitivity of microdevices that use fluorescence as the predominant detection workhorse. Here, we show that deposition of a thin gold nanoparticles layer onto the SU-8 surface significantly reduces the autofluorescence of the coated SU-8 surface by as much as 81% compared to bare SU-8. Furthermore, DNA probes can easily be immobilized on the Au surface with high thermal stability. These improvements enabled sensitive DNA detection by simple DNA hybridization down to 1 nM (a two orders of magnitude improvement) or by solid-phase PCR with sub-picomolar sensitivity. The approach is simple and easy to perform, making it suitable for various Bio-MEMs and LOC devices that use SU-8 as a structural material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics)
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Review

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Open AccessReview When Medicine Meets Engineering—Paradigm Shifts in Diagnostics and Therapeutics
Diagnostics 2013, 3(1), 126-154; doi:10.3390/diagnostics3010126
Received: 10 December 2012 / Revised: 10 January 2013 / Accepted: 23 January 2013 / Published: 27 February 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (902 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
During the last two decades, the manufacturing techniques of microfluidics-based devices have been phenomenally advanced, offering unlimited potential for bio-medical technologies. However, the direct applications of these technologies toward diagnostics and therapeutics are still far from maturity. The present challenges lay at [...] Read more.
During the last two decades, the manufacturing techniques of microfluidics-based devices have been phenomenally advanced, offering unlimited potential for bio-medical technologies. However, the direct applications of these technologies toward diagnostics and therapeutics are still far from maturity. The present challenges lay at the interfaces between the engineering systems and the biocomplex systems. A precisely designed engineering system with narrow dynamic range is hard to seamlessly integrate with the adaptive biological system in order to achieve the design goals. These differences remain as the roadblock between two fundamentally non-compatible systems. This paper will not extensively review the existing microfluidic sensors and actuators; rather, we will discuss the sources of the gaps for integration. We will also introduce system interface technologies for bridging the differences to lead toward paradigm shifts in diagnostics and therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics)
Open AccessReview A Review of Heating and Temperature Control in Microfluidic Systems: Techniques and Applications
Diagnostics 2013, 3(1), 33-67; doi:10.3390/diagnostics3010033
Received: 23 November 2012 / Revised: 19 December 2012 / Accepted: 4 January 2013 / Published: 15 January 2013
Cited by 34 | PDF Full-text (1601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This review presents an overview of the different techniques developed over the last decade to regulate the temperature within microfluidic systems. A variety of different approaches has been adopted, from external heating sources to Joule heating, microwaves or the use of lasers [...] Read more.
This review presents an overview of the different techniques developed over the last decade to regulate the temperature within microfluidic systems. A variety of different approaches has been adopted, from external heating sources to Joule heating, microwaves or the use of lasers to cite just a few examples. The scope of the technical solutions developed to date is impressive and encompasses for instance temperature ramp rates ranging from 0.1 to 2,000 °C/s leading to homogeneous temperatures from −3 °C to 120 °C, and constant gradients from 6 to 40 °C/mm with a fair degree of accuracy. We also examine some recent strategies developed for applications such as digital microfluidics, where integration of a heating source to generate a temperature gradient offers control of a key parameter, without necessarily requiring great accuracy. Conversely, Temperature Gradient Focusing requires high accuracy in order to control both the concentration and separation of charged species. In addition, the Polymerase Chain Reaction requires both accuracy (homogeneous temperature) and integration to carry out demanding heating cycles. The spectrum of applications requiring temperature regulation is growing rapidly with increasingly important implications for the physical, chemical and biotechnological sectors, depending on the relevant heating technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics)
Open AccessReview Cell-Based Biosensors: Electrical Sensing in Microfluidic Devices
Diagnostics 2012, 2(4), 83-96; doi:10.3390/diagnostics2040083
Received: 8 October 2012 / Revised: 13 November 2012 / Accepted: 3 December 2012 / Published: 6 December 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cell-based biosensors provide new horizons for medical diagnostics by adopting complex recognition elements such as mammalian cells in microfluidic devices that are simple, cost efficient and disposable. This combination renders possible a new range of applications in the fields of diagnostics and [...] Read more.
Cell-based biosensors provide new horizons for medical diagnostics by adopting complex recognition elements such as mammalian cells in microfluidic devices that are simple, cost efficient and disposable. This combination renders possible a new range of applications in the fields of diagnostics and personalized medicine. The review looks at the most recent developments in cell-based biosensing microfluidic systems with electrical and electrochemical transduction, and relevance to medical diagnostics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics)

Other

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Open AccessAnnouncement Special Issue: Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics
Diagnostics 2012, 2(1), 1; doi:10.3390/diagnostics2010001
Received: 20 March 2012 / Published: 20 March 2012
PDF Full-text (19 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The field of microfluidics has seen breath-taking progress since its beginnings in the 1980s and early 1990s. While much of the initial work was a by-product of mainstream micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and silicon based fabrication schemes, soon a specialized research field developed. [...] Read more.
The field of microfluidics has seen breath-taking progress since its beginnings in the 1980s and early 1990s. While much of the initial work was a by-product of mainstream micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and silicon based fabrication schemes, soon a specialized research field developed. Over the last decade a strong, highly interdisciplinary microfluidics community emerged with roots in classical silicon microfabrication as well as chemistry, physics, biotechnology, medicine and various engineering disciplines. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Platforms for High-Performance Diagnostics)

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