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SBIR Phase I:Metal-implanted materials (MIMs) for fast, cost-effective and reproducible mixing
Phone: (510) 693-7562
Phone: (510) 693-7562
The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project includes improving the reproducibility of automated life science workflows while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. Automated life science workflows are increasingly prevalent in medical (e.g., laboratory tests and diagnostics) and research (e.g., next generation sequencing) applications, and mixing is a ubiquitous and often repeatedly performed operation in these assays. The novel mixing technology to be developed will confer myriad benefits. By reducing assay turnaround times and improving assay reliability, it will decrease wait times for medical screening, diagnosis and monitoring, enabling faster diagnoses and treatments. By decreasing the materials costs of the assays, this technology may reduce the costs of medical testing and improve access to care. It also can enhance partnerships between academic and industry laboratories by giving academic laboratories access to industry workflows that are currently prohibitively expensive. Finally, by eliminating a substantial portion of the single-use plastic consumed by assays, this novel mixing technology will help curb the waste generated by life science assays, which will help alleviate the single-use plastic waste crisis. _x000D__x000D_
The proposed project will deliver an innovative mixing technology that is based on a photo-acoustic streaming phenomenon. Briefly, when glass implanted with metal nanoparticles (metal-implanted materials (MIMs)) is excited by a pulsed laser, it causes an adjacent fluid (liquid or gas) to begin streaming for the duration of the illumination. This streaming creates an opportunity to precisely control mixing, but key technical challenges include optimizing the MIMs’ form factor and devising an effective, yet also inexpensive, illumination system. The proposed project’s objectives address these challenges by: (i) evaluating the effectiveness of mixing solutions with a novel MIM form factor that can be incorporated easily into existing automated life science workflows, (ii) determining if functional MIMs can be fabricated in bulk by procuring them from a supplier and characterizing them for nanoparticle implantation and laser-induced solution streaming, and (iii) testing an alternative laser light source that powers mixing and consists of a low-cost light emitting diode (LED) laser._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *