"UC Engineers Find Way to
Build Durable Biochips from Plastic"
- September 24, 2000,
Cincinnati -- Chong Ahn, an
associate professor in the University of Cincinnati
College of Engineering, has developed a method for using
MEMS technology (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) to
build plastic microchips suitable for medical and other
Ahn will present a paper
summarizing his findings at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24
and Biomedical Nanotechnology World 2000" in
Columbus, Ohio. The paper is "Novel Structually
Programmable Microfluidic Systems (sPROMs) Technology for
Plastic-based Disposable Smart Microchips."
During his talk, Ahn will
explain how smart plastic biochips can be designed with no
moving parts using structurally programmable systems (sPROMs).
This makes the chips more durable, "smart," and
inexpensive enough to build disposable smart biochips.
Applications include blood
testing, environmental monitoring, and detection of
biochemical warfare agents. "Recently, there has been
a large demand for the development of disposable 'smart'
biochips," said Ahn. Designing and building the chips
has been difficult, because smart biochips usually require
complicated controls over the movement of fluids.
Ahn and others at UC
recently tested a novel system using sPROMs technology.
Their results indicate a smart biochip based on plastic
can be built which has no moving parts, yet still provides
considerable control. The key is creating differences in
pressure through the chip which can regulate the flow of
fluid through various passive valves and conduits. Details
on the design and fabrication of the plastic biochips will
be presented during the Columbus conference.
Recent Funding: Ahn
recently received a $3 million grant from the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to support
research in UC's Microsystems and BioMEMS Lab.