The award-winning technology, Absorption Detection System in Multiple Capillaries, developed by Ed Yeung, program director
of Chemical and Biological Sciences and an ISU Distinguished Professor, has been named the Most Promising New Technology
by the editors of R&D Magazine. The innovation was one of three technologies selected from the 2001 R&D 100 award
winners to receive Editors' Choice awards.
"We looked at the R&D 100 award-winning technologies and selected three we felt would have the most impact," says Tim
Studt, editor-in-chief, R&D Magazine. The Ames Lab technology was selected for its potential to bring about big changes in its
field, according to Studt.
The technology, using multiple capillaries, rapidly separates samples of complex chemical or biochemical mixtures. The capillaries
disperse heat very well and so can withstand an electrical charge of up to 20,000 volts, which results in fast separations. Using
absorbance detection to identify the molecules means it can handle 95 percent of all known chemical and biochemical
compounds and uses 1,000 times less solvent than high-performance liquid chromatography. With these features, the technology has the ability to decipher an
individual's entire genetic code faster, more accurately and less expensively than conventional instrumentation.
CombiSep Inc., an Ames-based startup company Yeung helped launch, turned the technology into a commercial instrument, the MCE 2000. "The MCE 2000 will
do everything standard commercial systems will do, except at 96 times higher speed," says Yeung. With this unparalleled detection power, it has fast-evolving
applications in pharmaceutical, genetics, medical and forensics laboratories.
In addition to the R&D awards, Yeung's technology enabled CombiSep to win a highly competitive $2 million Advanced Technology Program Grant from the
National Institute of Standards and Technology. The funding is to support further work in the area of proteomics (the study of protein expression and function).
CombiSep also has received two $100,000 Small Business Innovative Research grants, one from the National Science Foundation and one from the National
Institutes of Health.
Yeung's research was funded by the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.