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UCLA researchers show how world's smallest 'coffee ring' may help biosensors detect disease
Date:5/5/2010

kers on a checkerboard. The group repeated the experiments with smaller grid patterns until the coffee-ring phenomenon was no longer evident. For the 100-nanometer sized particles, this occurred at a droplet diameter of approximately 10 micrometers, or about 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair. At this point, the water evaporated before the particles had enough time to move to the perimeter.

"Knowing the minimum size of this so-called coffee ring will guide us in making the smallest biosensors possible," Wong said. "This means that we can pack thousands, even millions, of small micro-biosensors onto a lab-on-a-chip, allowing one to perform a large number of medical diagnostics on a single chip. This may also open the doors to potentially detecting multiple diseases in one sitting."

"There's another important advantage this whole process is very natural, it's just evaporation," Wong added. "We don't need to use additional devices, such as an electrical power source or other sophisticated instruments to move the particles. Evaporation provides a very simple way of concentrating particles and has potential in medical diagnosis. For example, researchers at Vanderbilt University were recently awarded a Gates Foundation Research Fund for proposing the use of the coffee-ring phenomenon for malaria detection in developing countries."

The researchers are currently optimizing the ring formation parameters and will then explore the application of this approach toward biosensing technologies that are being developed in Ho's laboratory.


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Contact: Matthew Chin
mchin@support.ucla.edu
310-206-0680
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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