In an advance toward analyzing blood and urine instantly at a patient's bedside instead of waiting for results from a central laboratory, scientists are reporting development of a new micropump capable of producing pressures almost 500 times higher than the pressure in a car tire. Described in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry, the pumps are for futuristic "labs-on-a-chip," which reduce entire laboratories to the size of a postage stamp.
Shaorong Liu and colleagues explain that powerful pumps are critical for high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), a mainstay laboratory testing technology used in medical diagnosis, drug screening and numerous other purposes. HPLC can analyze 80 percent of all known chemical compounds. Scientists are trying to miniaturize HPLC for handheld devices, which would eliminate the need to send samples to central labs and wait for the results. One stumbling block, however, is the lack of suitable small, powerful pumps to push samples through HPLC devices.
They describe invention of a device six times more powerful than the best existing pump of this kind. Linked together in series, their electroosmotic pumps can produce more than 17,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. The pumps use electroosmotic flow, in which an electrical current makes charged particles flow through a narrow channel. The new pumps could produce even higher pressures, the scientists report.
The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.