Saturday, May 4, 2013

no-instrument measurement in paper-based device

Paper-based devices (PBDs) have emerged as a new class of inexpensive devices with potential use in medical diagnostics, environmental applications etc. They are not only inexpensive but also proven to be sensitive, quantitative, and reliable in many applications.

The colorimetric detection is one of the popular methods of quantitation of analytes in PBDs. Color developing reagents are used on the micro-reaction chambers on paper. The color developing reagent then reacts with the analyte of interest when the later is applied specifically and quantitatively. Simple and widely available instrumentations like a office scanner or a camera (could be a mobile phone camera) are used to capture the color which is then quantitated by measuring the signal using image processing software.  If you don't have camera and/ or image processing software, don't worry. Scientists from Colorado State University have developed even a simpler method to quantitate analytes. This interesting work has recently been published in Lab on a Chip Journal.

The new technique relies on the length of the color developed. They call this as a simple distance-based detection. You just need a ruler to quantitate the analyte concentration: no camera, no scanner, no software.
How does this work?

First of all create a paper-based device. In their work, they have used wax printing to make PBDs. Their design has a straight channel, like a thermometer. There is one circular reservoir at one end. This reservoir is used for sample addition and/or transfer of analyte to the detection zone (long conduit).

Colorimetric detection reagents are deposited along the flow channel. They tested two different methods for this purpose: spray application or pipetting. Once the reagents are dry, the device is ready to use.

Sample solution in water is then added to the sample reservoir which flows into the detection/flow channel. The analyte reacts with reagent and develops color. Once all of the analyte is consumed, the color development stops. Analyte quantification is then done by measuring the length of the colored region in the detection zone by a ruler.

Authors of this paper have demonstrated their technique by measuring three different analytes: nickel, reduced glutathion, and glucose.

This new measurement technique is claimed to be accurate and sensitive compared to conventional methods.

In this figure, you can see that higher the concentration of analyte-the longer is the color developed region in detection zone.

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