In clinics, blood coagulation time measurements are performed using mechanical measurements with blood plasma. Such measurements are challenging to do in a lab-on-a-chip (LoC) system using a small volume of whole blood. Existing LoC systems use indirect measurement principles employing optical or electrochemical methods. We developed an LoC system using mechanical measurements with a small volume of whole blood without requiring sample preparation. The measurement is performed in a microfluidic channel where two fibers are placed inline with a small gap in between. The first fiber operates near its mechanical resonance using remote magnetic actuation and immersed in the sample. The second fiber is a pick-up fiber acting as an optical sensor. The microfluidic channel is engineered innovatively such that the blood does not block the gap between the vibrating fiber and the pick-up fiber, resulting in high signal-to-noise ratio optical output. The control plasma test results matched well with the plasma manufacturer’s datasheet. Activated-partial-thromboplastin-time tests were successfully performed also with human whole blood samples, and the method is proven to be effective. Simplicity of the cartridge design and cost of readily available materials enable a low-cost point-of-care device for blood coagulation measurements.
We developed two types of cantilever-based biosensors for portable diagnostics applications. One sensor is based on MEMS cantilever chip mounted in a microfluidic channel and the other sensor is based on a movable optical fiber placed across a microfluidic channel. Both types of sensors were aimed at direct mechanical measurement of coagulation time in a disposable cartridge using plasma or whole blood samples. There are several similarities and also some important differences between the MEMS based and the optical fiber based solutions. The aim of this paper is to provide a comparison between the two solutions and the results. For both types of sensors, actuation of the cantilever or the moving fiber is achieved using an electro coil and the readout is optical. Since both the actuation and sensing are remote, no electrical connections are required for the cartridge. Therefore it is possible to build low cost disposable cartridges. The reader unit for the cartridge contains light sources, photodetectors, the electro coil, a heater, analog electronics, and a microprocessor. The reader unit has different optical interfaces for the cartridges that have MEMS cantilevers and moving fibers. MEMS based platform has better sensitivity but optomechanical alignment is a challenge and measurements with whole blood were not possible due to high scattering of light by the red blood cells. Fiber sensor based platform has relaxed optomechanical tolerances, ease of manufacturing, and it allows measurements in whole blood. Both sensors were tested using control plasma samples for activated-Partial-Thromboplastin-Time (aPTT) measurements. Control plasma test results matched with the manufacturer’s datasheet. Optical fiber based system was tested for aPTT tests with human whole blood samples and the proposed platform provided repeatable test results making the system method of choice for portable diagnostics.
In this talk, we present the various types of 3D displays, head-mounted projection displays and wearable displays developed in our group using MEMS scanners, compact RGB laser light sources, and spatial light modulators.