The ESP must collect large volumes of natural samples and then render material collected for analysis on a microfluidic scale. To meet that need we have designed a separate fluid handling station that can be added to the core ESP. This work was carried out with in collaboration with workers at LLNL. We refer to this device as the “microfludic block”, or MFB. The MFB is take-off point for distributing samples and reagents to one or more detection modules. The current emphasis is to support a reusable solid phase extraction column for purifying nucleic acids and a 4-channel real-time PCR module. The MFB is designed to support reagents for a variety of PCR master mixes, primer/probe combinations and control templates. Ultimately we aim to use the MFB to gang multiple functions in an analytical cascade (e.g., employ probe arrays down stream of PCR).
|Solid model showing the microfluidic block. Left panel: standalone unit fitted with two LLNL PCR modules. Right panel: an earlier version of the same block and single PCR module attached to a core ESP (on far right). Parts of the ESP have been removed to improve clarity. For scale, the ESP is approximately 16” in diameter, 30” tall.|