Bioanalysis Zone

The next big thing is actually small


Recent developments in materials, surface modifications, separation schemes, detection systems and associated instrumentation have allowed significant advances in the performance of lab-on-a-chip devices. These devices, also referred to as micro total analysis systems (μTAS), offer great versatility, high throughput, short analysis time, low cost and, more importantly, performance that is comparable to standard bench-top instrumentation. To date, μTAS have demonstrated advantages in a significant number of fields including biochemical, pharmaceutical, military and environmental. Perhaps most importantly, μTAS represent excellent platforms to introduce students to microfabrication and nanotechnology, bridging chemistry with other fields, such as engineering and biology, enabling the integration of various skills and curricular concepts. Considering the advantages of the technology and the potential impact to society, our research program aims to address the need for simpler, more affordable, faster and portable devices to measure biologically active compounds. Specifically, the program is focused on the development and characterization of a series of novel strategies towards the realization of integrated microanalytical devices. One key aspect of our research projects is that the developed analytical strategies must be compatible with each other; therefore, enabling their use in integrated devices. The program combines spectroscopy, surface chemistry, capillary electrophoresis, electrochemical detection and nanomaterials. This article discusses some of the most recent results obtained in two main areas of emphasis: capillary electrophoresis, microchip-capillary electrophoresis, electrochemical detection and interaction of proteins with nanomaterials.

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