Hyphenated Systems, a provider of hybrid microscopy for three-dimensional (3D) imaging and metrology in micro- and nanotechnology, sells a 3D Map (microfluidics analysis platform) to Harvard
The instrument will be used by the Whitesides research group, department of chemistry and chemical biology - Harvard's leading research and development group in the burgeoning field.
The new system, the second tool acquired from Hyphenated Systems by Harvard, adds the capability of inverted microscope optics, which permits enhanced access to the microfluidic device for additional sensors and experimental apparatus.
"3D MAP allows us to simultaneously measure structure and flow in the devices we fabricate," said Max Narovlyansky, a graduate student in professor George Whitesides's group at Harvard University.
"Interactions between structure and flow are at the core of all microfluidics development, and the phenomena we observe at the micro scale are often much different from what one might expect from experience in the macro world".
Narovlyansky adds: "We want to build devices that are, in many ways, analogous to the integrated circuits of the electronics world.
"With microfluidics, we can isolate very small quantities of biological and biochemical agents and precisely control their flow, mixing and distribution to perform complex assays and biochemical determinations quickly and easily.
"We see potential applications ranging from the detection of minute quantities of toxic substances to the discovery of new drugs and bioactive molecules.
"We expect 3D Map to play an important role in our investigations".
Hyphenated Systems's 3D Map uses advanced confocal microscopy to visualise and measure 3D structure with sub-micron resolution.
The open architecture of both the hardware and software facilitate the addition of other measurement and visualisation technologies such as flow measurement or AFM.
The ability to use 3D Map to image subsurface features in transparent media make it ideal for sealed, functioning microfluidic devices.
It easily accommodates the rough surfaces, steep slopes and arbitrary shapes frequently used in microfluidic devices.
"We are pleased to install a second system into this renowned facility," said Terence Lundy, vice president and general manager, Hyphenated Systems.
"Microfluidics is in the early stages of its development, but it has the potential to become just as significant over the next thirty years as microelectronics has in the past thirty.
"We have installed instruments in many of the leading microfluidics laboratories, and we are well-positioned to play a key supporting role as this technology moves from the laboratory to the factory."