Research Projects

Development of Polymer Microfluidic Biochips for Diagnostic Applications

Polymer-based BioMEMS devices have been used in many biomedical applications. Polymer biochips, in particular, have shown great potentials in biomedical analysis and diagnostic applications. This project aims to develop broad-based competency in the understanding and application of the various advanced enabling technologies in the design, prototype and mass fabrication of polymeric microfluidic biochip devices for diagnostic applications.



Contact PersonWang Zhiping(zpwang@SIMTech.a-star.edu.sg)
SolutionTransparent polymer materials such as Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), polycarbonate and Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) have been used for fabrication of polymeric based electrophoresis microchips. Different types of electrophoresis microchips have been designed and studied for various applications. Several rapid biochip prototype fabrication technologies have been studied and developed, including, laser direct process method, soft lithographic and casting methods. In the project, the injection moulding process method has also been studied to mass produce polymer biochips for disposable applications. Several electrophoresis detection and analysis methods, that is, the laser induced fluorescence (LIF), the potential gradient detection (PGD) and the capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection (C4D) methods, have been studied and developed.
BenefitsDesign, prototyping, and mass production technologies have been developed for polymer-based electrophoresis capillary (CE) biochips with micro channels of micrometres’ widths for diagnostic applications. Several electrophoresis detection and analysis methods, that is, the laser induced fluorescence (LIF), the potential gradient detection (PGD) and the capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection (C4D), have been studied and developed. Buffer systems for various detection methods have been developed and optimised for different types of sample analysis studied. Separation, detection, and analysis have been successfully conducted for bacteria, antibiotics, food preservations, and organic acids. An invention disclosure has been filed on method and system for detection of organic acids by capillary/biochip electrophoresis-capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection.
Patents / Awards / Achievements / DifferentiationDesign, prototyping, and mass production technologies have been developed for polymer-based electrophoresis capillary (CE) biochips with micro channels of micrometres’ widths for diagnostic applications. Several electrophoresis detection and analysis methods, that is, the laser induced fluorescence (LIF), the potential gradient detection (PGD) and the capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection (C4D), have been studied and developed. Buffer systems for various detection methods have been developed and optimised for different types of sample analysis studied. Separation, detection, and analysis have been successfully conducted for bacteria, antibiotics, food preservations, and organic acids. An invention disclosure has been filed on method and system for detection of organic acids by capillary/biochip electrophoresis-capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection.
ApplicationsThe polymer-based biochip manufacturing technologies, the electrophoresis analysis method and system are suitable for diagnostic detection applications of bacteria, virus, and various additives. Due to high test speed and application of disposable polymer chips, the polymer biochip system and the detection methods can be used for on-site and point-of-care applications.

Problems Addressed

Microfluidic biochips have shown great potentials in diagnostic applications. However, many biochips are fabricated using silicon wafers or glass slides through etching methods. Due to thesive for disposable applications. Polymer materials, on the other hand, have better  batch process nature of the etching process, chips manufactured this way are expenproperties for many fluidic samples analysis and can be mass fabricated at low cost for many disposable applications. In this project, research and development work has been conducted to develop capabilities of polymer-based biochip design, manufacturing and sample analysis technologies.