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Micropump for Lab-on-a-Chip Diagnosis of Global Life-Threatening Diseases

Pennsylvania State University researchers have demonstrated an acoustofluidic pump powered by a piezoelectric transducer about the size of a quarter. This reliable, inexpensive, programmable pump is a crucial feature for lab-on-a-chip devices that could make the diagnosis of many global life-threatening diseases easy and affordable. The research team demonstrated that with a smart microfluidic design, low-power acoustic waves could deliver fluids precisely and reliably. The permanent equipment for the total lab-on-a-chip system, including off-the-shelf electronics, could cost as little as $20-$30 to make, and the disposable chip could cost as little as 10 cents. Although slightly more expensive than paper-based diagnostics - such as home pregnancy tests - the system is far more versatile and precise, enabling quantitative analysis of, for example, HIV, hepatitis, cancer, infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and nutritional deficiency.