CCrawford sez, "Michelle Khine couldn't afford the $100,000 fabrication gear to make micro-fluidic chips needed for chip-based diagnostic tests. She turned to Shrinky-Dinks and found a new way to solve the problem."
To test her idea, she whipped up a channel design in AutoCAD, printed it out on Shrinky Dink material using a laser printer, and stuck the result in a toaster oven. As the plastic shrank, the ink particles on its surface clumped together, forming tiny ridges. That was exactly the effect Khine wanted. When she poured a flexible polymer known as PDMS onto the surface of the cooled Shrinky Dink, the ink ridges created tiny channels in the surface of the polymer as it hardened. She pulled the PDMS away from the Shrinky Dink mold, and voilà: a finished microfluidic device that cost less than a fast-food meal.
Khine began using the chips in her experiments, but she didn't view her toaster-oven hack as a breakthrough right away. "I thought it would be something to hold me over until we got the proper equipment in place," she says. But when she published a short paper about her technique, she was floored by the response she got from scientists all over the world. "I had no idea people were going to be so interested," Khine says.
A children's toy inspires a cheap, easy production method for high-tech diagnostic chips
(Image: Dave Lauridsen)
NASA’s AIRS instrument captured this image of Tropical Storm Fay around 2 p.m. local time on July 10, 2020, as the storm swept through New England. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Tropical Storm Fay is sweeping across New England, with the center of the storm making landfall about 10 miles (15 kilometers) north-northeast […]
The deadly 2013 El Reno tornado was 2.5 miles (4 km) wide and killed a team of tornado experts. But as Anton Seimon explains, his colleagues turned that tragedy into an opportunity to confirm a key element of tornado formation.
Some snakes have evolved the ability to glide through the air. For example, paradise tree snakes in southeastern Asia can launch off from a branch and fly as far as 10 meters. Scientists have known that the snakes flatten their bodies to gain lift but new research reveals that they also undulate their bodies as […]
The notion of two people sleeping in the same bed always inspires romantic visions of love and intimacy. However, most quickly realize that the romance of sleeping together is often quickly replaced by the realities of the act. One partner snores. The other talks in their sleep. One grinds their teeth. The other hogs the […]
Add Internet of Things to the shortlist of those actually benefiting from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. You might not realize it, but the organizing principle that is bringing more automation to the world is actually proving to be a major asset as human beings are forced to stay home and away from the […]
We’ve all had those nights where we’re working on a laptop or scrolling through our phone before glancing at the time to find it’s actually a lot later than we thought. Most nights, you’d be fast asleep or at least dead tired at midnight or 1 or 3 a.m. But after staring at a screen, […]