APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Study of protein assembly and interfacial chemical processes:
- Imaging interfacial chemical dynamics (catalyst and chemical sectors)
- Imaging macromolecular assembly (biotech and pharmaceutical sectors)
- Imaging conformational changes to proteins upon binding analyte (biotech and pharmaceutical sectors)
- Provides more accurate reaction kinetics
- Enables the immediate delivery of concentrated reactant solutions
- Chemical and biological processes are often initiated by mixing of two reactants and imaged by High Speed Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and confocal and super resolution microscopy. However, there are currently three problems with the present fluidic exchange designs: 1) large volume of fluid displacement required compromises timing precision, 2) large volume of fluid displacement required compromises concentration precision, 3) turbulent mixing that ultimately makes AFM and confocal and super resolution processes difficult or impossible.
Paul Ashby of Berkeley Lab has developed a novel design for accurately characterizing chemical and biological reactions with high speed AFM and confocal and super resolution optical microscopes. A microfluidic network allows solution mixing to occur in very close proximity to the region being imaged. By controlling pressure and flow rates, the solutions can be kept from mixing. Mixing is then initiated with precise temporal control for more accurate measure of reaction kinetics.
Microfluidic flows are likely to have laminar flow and diffusive mixing, enabling imaging through the process. This new invention may potentially expand the market for microscopy- based studies of reaction kinetics.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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