MICROFLUIDICS IN BIOSPAIN 2016 : THREE INTENSE AND POSSITIVE DAYS

Posted By Borja Barredo / News / biotechnology, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

microLiquid in BioSpain 2016

microLiquid in BioSpain 2016

Microfluidic Event in Spain

Microliquid has attended the “8th International meeting in Biotechnology “ from the 28th to the 30th of September, held in BEC (Bilbao). It is important to say that more than 850 companies went to the meeting and almost the 34% of the attending companies where international, coming from 28 different countries. Moreover, during these 3 days, there have been more than 3.300 meeting or partnerings, with more than 2.000 people of different companies taking part.

Biospain is a biennial event organized by ASEBIO, the Spanish association of Biotechnology Companies, in collaboration with other organizations, in this case, the Basque Business Development Agency. Due to the increasing international rivalry, this meeting is important for companies working in the Biotechnology field, in order to expand what they do and learn from other companies. BioSpain 2016 has had also a greater presence of USA companies and organizations, being USA the guest country in this eighth edition. People form the states of Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Puerto Rico have attended the meeting. Moreover, this year the participation of national companies has raised, more specifically Galicia, Basque Country, Cataluña, Valencia or Baleares. Some of the topics discussed at BioSpain 2016 are oncology, Alzheimer, food, vaccine or new diagnostic methods.

MicroLiquid Stand in BioSpain 2016

MicroLiquid Stand in BioSpain 2016

 

Two of the members of our  company have been in the meeting during the three days, trying to know more about other companies working in the same field of us, and moreover, letting them know what Microliquid does. Apart from having a stand to show what we do, Microliquid has been attending the Partnering area, where it was possible to talk to other companies, try to explain how our company works, listen to what they do, and sometimes, open new ways to work together, as a team, or helping each other.

Moreover, Microliquid makes a positive assessment of the fair, taking into account that a lot of people have attended our stand, new companies know about us, and we have been able to make new alliances with other companies.

To finish with, Ion Arocena, the director of the Spanish Association of Biotechnology Companies (Asebio), says that “We think that BioSpain 2016 has been a good representation of the sector worldwide” , and he makes a positive evaluation of those three days.

 

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Microfluidics Application: What is a Biomarker for Detection?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Biosensor, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Microfluidics Application: Biomarker for Detection through Microfluidic Chips

Biomarkers are the physiological,biochemical or morphological changes that occur as a result of exposure,generally, to a toxic substance. The Biomarkers are only the measures/responses at  molecular and cellular level because it is the perfect situation to study the cause-effect relationships and mechanisms of action of these substances.
It is important to understand their mechanisms of action to develop medical or detection devices. Other features that allow its use is the  reproducibility, sensitivity, specificity and especially they present a very fast response time for detection, among other things.

Biomarkers used for Detection through Microfluidics

Biomarkers used for Detection through Microfluidics

 

Due to these features  it is an instrument widely used both in the environmental field and in the health industry.

It is essential that the biomarker response time is short , so that it can be used as “early warning system” and if also shows a diagnostic value, it can then be used predictively.

We can distinguish two types of biomarkers, biomarkers that indicate exposure and those that indicate damage from exposure.

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Microfluidics Manufacturing: What is the DRIE Process (Deep reactive ion etching)?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / MEMS, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Microfluidics Manufacturing: DRIE Process (Deep reactive ion etching)

The DRIE – Deep reactive ion etching: In this attack , a highly anisotropic(focus on one direction) etching, we can define the desired structures on silicon with the heights defined before. It is a  used to create also through holes and estructures in wafers / substrates,  with typically high aspect ratio.

The definition obtained with this attack over the Silicon is very good. We use the Bosch process to do it.

First we passivate with metals the wafer parts you want to keep  and then do the attach with the ion plasma which removes the silicon from the non passivated parts.

To do the DRIE process , we use a special machine you can see in the photo below.

DRIE PROCESS - Deep reactive-ion etching

DRIE PROCESS – Deep reactive-ion etching

 

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Microfluidics Manufacturing: What is Anodic Bonding?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / MEMS, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

 

Anodic bonding between glass and silicon through electric fields

Anodic bonding between glass and silicon through electric fields

Microfluidics Manufacturing: Anodic Bonding

The Bonder enables Anodic Bonding  (Sealing)  between a Silicon wafer and  a Crystal Wafer. This seal is used primarily for connecting silicon / glass and metal / glass through electric fields.

The requirements for anodic bonding are cleaned surfaces availability  on both  wafers  and the atomic contact between the binding substrates through an electrostatic field  should be strong enough

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Microfluidics with microLIQUID in the BIOBASQUE 2016 Catalog

Posted By Borja Barredo / News / MEMS, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Microfluidics in the Catalogue

Biobasque Cluster Logo

Biobasque Cluster Logo

MicroLIQUID integrated in the new BIOBASQUE Catalog, where all the information of the biotech companies of the Basque Region is available.

Here you can get the full information about the companies:

http://www.spri.eus/es/actualidad-spri/empresas-biotecnologicas-vascas-catalogo-biobasque-2016

The BASQUE BIOCLUSTER is a non-profit association constituted in 2010, and represents the idea of enhancing the biosciences sector in the Basque Country. The coordination, the collaboration with all the stakeholders in the sphere of biosciences, promoting business cooperation is the basis for the competitive development of its companies and their internationalisation, and is greatly contributing to the development and positioning of the Basque bio sector.

FIGURES

Today the Basque Biocluster has 30 partner businesses, 58 including their subsidiaries, which in 2014 had a turnover of €268 million, 78.7% (€211 million) of which came from the export of their products and services to international markets. As a whole, the companies in the association contribute to the maintenance of 1,632 jobs.

Industry based on biosciences is characterised by the close relationship between research, innovation and competitiveness, and largely rests on the appearance of a new type of companies whose objective is to exploit advanced technologies related to the sciences of life, in order to respond to myriad needs in various industrial spheres.

In today’s catalog, more than 80 entities are dedicated to biotechnology research, of which 51 had biotechnology as their main or exclusive activity, assigning more than half of their internal expenses to biotechnology R&D. Of these 80 entities, 70 are biotechnology companies.

The bio sector employs 1,183 people full time, or in other words, 6.4% of total R&D personnel in the Basque Country, with the outstanding presence of women, who represent more than 60% of all people working full time in biotechnology.

Research personnel, for their part, stand at 903 people, 76% of the total.

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Microfluidics Application: Point of Care Devices

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

point of care and detection systems based in microfluidics

microLIQUID develops and manufactures point of care and detection systems based in microfluidics

Microfluidics Application: Point of Care Devices

Our aim is to provide portable diagnostic tools to ensure rapid, affordable and simple analysis in many scenarios of our society (hospitals, airports, doctor’s practice, roadside police controls, natural environment etc).

However, conventional analytical methods often require a large volume of sample and complicated time-consuming protocols.
The more portable ones are based on slow immunochromatographic strips or low-sensitivity electrochemical detection systems, whereas desktop systems are sensitive and semi-automatic but bulky and heavy.
microLIQUID tries to improve quality of life and medical services through the development of quick diagnostic devices that will carry out sample preparation and detection reducing the incidence of current society threats.

Our idea is to create intelligent and portable systems across many sectors for efficient treatment(environment monitoring, health, food , veterinary), by integrating cost-efficiently manufactured Lab-on-a-Chips.

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Microfluidics Manufacturing: What is Micromilling?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / microfluidic chip, microfluidic prototyping, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

 

Micromilling in Microfluidics

Micromilling in Microfluidics:Using small cutting tools to create microfluidic architectures.

Microfluidics Manufacturing: Micromilling

Micromilling in Microfluidics:Using small cutting tools to create microfluidic architectures.

It is a mechanical method, in which we use  small cutting tools to remove the materials from a specific part of the microfluidic architecture.

All thermoplastics can be subjected to micromilling and can be used only on hardened materials. The structure resolution depends on the tool dimension; it can go down to 25μm.

PDMS structure cannot be obtained directly by this method. The replica of the design can be machined and the mould(are reusable) can be casted in order to get PDMS devices.

Technique: A computer is used to control the position of the tool  and the cutting of the structures.The milling time,depends on the milling structure, and can vary from minutes to hours .

The advantage of this technique is that it does not affect the polymeric material by UV radiation or heating, but it creates stress near the cut structures that can be avoided by heating and slow cooling.

 

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Microfluidics: What is liquid handling?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / microfluidic chip, microfluidic prototyping, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Microfluidic liquid handling: all the elements to scratch the surface of microfluidics

Microfluidic liquid handling: all the elements to scratch the surface of microfluidics

Microfluidics: Liquid handling

The aim of this document  is to scratch the surface of microfluidics, trying to describe the most significant phenomena at this scale.

The first goal of microfluidics is to take advantage of the benefits of scaling down: better control, lower cost, faster results and more. These benefits are especially relevant for biological reactions.

The effects that become dominant in microfluidics include laminar flow, diffusion, fluidic resistance, surface area to volume ratio, and surface tension. As the magnitude of these physical effects is different to the ones experienced at the macroscopic scale, fluid integrated microdevices must be designed from first principles and not simply by miniaturizing macroscopic devices.

Liquid flow in the microdomain belongs to the regime of viscous dominated flow. There is a fundamental change in hydrodynamics that occurs here, which significantly affects microfluidic operations like mixing. This barrier occurs when the Reynolds number is of the order of unity. At these scales, viscous forces dominate over inertial forces, turbulence is nonexistent, surface tension can be a powerful force, diffusion becomes the basic method for mixing, and evaporation acts quickly on exposed liquid surfaces. At low Reynolds numbers, fluid dynamics is dominated by viscous drag rather than by inertia and this is why devices that rely on inertial effects for their operation will no longer work.

One consequence of laminar flow is that two or more streams flowing in contact with each other will not mix except by diffusion. Diffusion is the process, by which a concentrated group of particles in a volume will, by Brownian motion, spread out over time so that the average concentration of particles throughout the volume is constant.

As diffusion times can be short at the microscale, microchannels can be used to create concentration gradients having complex profiles. Mixing schemes at the microscale must find ways to maximize the interfaces between solutions to allow diffusion to act quickly.

Surface area to volume ratio is another factor that becomes important at the microscale. The inverse characteristic length scaling of the surface-area-to-volume ratio implies that heat and mass transfer into or out of a chip can be enhanced as the dimensions of the device are reduced.

When working at the micro scale, another element as the surface tension forces become significant. Surface tension is the result of cohesion between liquid molecules at the interfaces. The surface free energy of a liquid is a measure of how much tension its surface contains. The path a fluid will travel through a capillary is directly related to the water’s surface free energy and inversely related to the radius of the capillary.

When microchannels with dimensions on the order of microns are used, the lengths liquids travel based only on capillary forces are significant. Surface energies have been widely exploited in microfluidics as pumping systems.

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What is Microfluidics?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

What is Microfluidics: a microscale piece of fine art

What is Microfluidics – Fine Art at microscale

Microfluidics: Characteristics

Microfluidics deals with the behaviour, precise control and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small (typically sub-millimetre) scale. This kind of research and work involves the usage of different technologies, components and materials, witch are key factors in microfluidic area.

Microfluidics common features

Usually, micro means one of the following features:

  • Small volumes.
  • Small size.
  • Low energy consumption.
  • Effects of the micro domain.

Microfluidics is a multidisciplinary field intersecting engineering, physics, chemistry, microtechnology and biotechnology, with practical applications to the design of systems in which such small volumes of fluids will be used. Microfluidic area emerged in the beginning of the 1980s and is used in the development of inkjet printheads, DNA chips,lab on a chip technology, micro-propulsion, and micro-thermal technologies.

In this field microLIQUID develops and produces from the simplest microfluidic chip to complex microfluidic devices.

Our manufacture process allows us to integrate different designs and devices in a wafer, reducing time and cost of manufacturing.

microLIQUID offers standard microfluidic products ( microfluidic chips and encapsulate) and develop customized microfluidic structures and chip holders (connectors).

 

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Microfluidic Prototyping: Multi height Molds for PDMS Microfluidic Chips

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / microfluidic chip, microfluidic prototyping, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Hot Embossing in Microfluidics using SU8 moulds

SU 8 Molds for Microfluidic Chips Replication

Microfluidic Prototyping: Molds for PDMS Microfluidic Chips

In microLIQUID, we manufacture SU8 molds. The moulds are used as tools for soft casting polymers such as PDMS or polymers Hot Embossing.

SU8  molds for microfluidics – specifications:

  • Cross Section of microfluidic microstructures (Channels, pillar, chambers…): Rectangular cross section profile (walls with an angle of 90 grades)
  • Mould dimensions: Round 4 inches (Aprox 10 cm). Useful area for the mould is 9 cm (The external area of 1cm will not be used, as we need it for fabrication)
  • Substrate: You can choose between silicon or pyrex in standar and Glass, pmma, COC or COP substrates available on demand.
  • Material of microstructures: SU8
  • Dicing: The moulds can be cut to smaller rectangle pieces or chips.
  • Dicing: The wafer can be cut in smaller rectangle pieces or chips.
  • Microfluidic Structures restrictions size:
    • Depth and width 15 microns and 400 microns in standard.
    • Width: 10 microns and 9 cm in standard
    • Smaller feature available on demand.
  • Aspect ratio for channels (or other microstructures):
    • 1/3 in standard: For example if you choose 45 microns depth, the minimum width will be 15 microns
    • Higher aspect ratios available on demand.
  • Tolerances:
    • +-7% in height
    • 1,5 micron in width

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