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Pillar arrays assist with lab-on-a-chip chemistry

NSF Award:

High aspect ratio, densely populated, pillar arrays for separations  (University of Tennessee Knoxville)

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Researchers at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have fabricated dense arrays of pillars exhibiting mass transport properties and super hydrophobic behavior conducive to efficient 2-D chemical separations on lab-on-a-chip platforms.

The dimensions of the fabricated platforms and the simplicity of the solvent delivery provide options for point-of-care separations of biomedical samples and in-field separations of environmental pollutants and homeland security-related materials.

These stable, uniform pillar arrays for chemical separations (PACS) are scalable to nanometer dimensions and provide an alternative approach to separation media with precisely controlled nano- and micro-scale architectures. Thus, the fluidic structures, operated in enclosed pressure-driven or open capillary action-driven modes, offer the potential for substantial improvements in efficiency and permeability over the packed columns and thin layer chromatography plates traditionally used in chemical separation analysis. Moreover, using advanced lithographic techniques, researchers can create larger scale, uniform pillar structures suitable for high-performance, open format 2-D spatial separations.


  • pillar array structure assists with lab-on-a-chip  chemistry
A plug (yellow) moves toward a pillar channel (red). Close up of the pillars (lower left).
Sepaniak Laboratory, University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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