Transducers, that convert one form of energy to another, are found in microfluidic and MEMS systems in the form of sensors, electrodes, and actuators. At Micronit, we offer transducer integration. By incorporating transducers into assay platforms, the devices can perform tests autonomously and external hardware can be simplified. Thanks to transducer integration technology, measurements can be carried out on the spot, like quality checks in the food industry or DNA analysis at a crime scene.
At Micronit, we focus on the following sensing and actuation functionalities:
We can offer this technology to many different types of projects. To get you inspired, below you can find a few cases we have worked on and successfully put transducer integration to use!
Our microfabricated chips can be made to include thin film metal layers, for instance, platinum or gold. As temperature affects the electrical resistance of a metal, these thin film resistors can act as temperature sensors. Furthermore, thin film electrodes can be used to measure the electrical impedance of electrolytes inside a device. For instance, some of our capillary electrophoresis (CE) chips are equipped with electrodes to measure the conductivity at the end of the separation channel to detect and quantify the separated analytes.
We can also use molecular probes as a transducer for measuring chemical species inside microfluidic devices. One application is the use of phosphorescent materials to measure dissolved oxygen, an application particularly relevant in cell culture systems. Patches containing the probe material are manufactured on the inside surface of devices. An optical fiber mounted in the chip holder directs the excitation light to the patches and collects the phosphorescent signal for quantification.
Modules consisting of microfluidic flow cells integrated with, e.g. optical sensors, can be used as a sensitive readout of biological assays in Point-of-Care (PoC) tests. In a collaborative project between Janssen Diagnostics, NXP Semiconductors, and Micronit, we have developed a microfluidic detection module by mounting a CMOS-based sensor on a microfluidic flow cell equipped with electrical traces. This device was used for beads-based biological assays and showed better sensitivity and a lower limit of detection than conventional methods. This demonstrates the potential to develop stand-alone PoC tests, which are able to detect low concentrations of biomarkers. Microfluidics and microtechnologies thus take diagnostic capabilities out of the lab and bring them into the patients’ home.
Would you like to read more about this? We have a paper about transducer integration ready for you.
Curious to find out more about our capabilities in the field of transducer integration?