Smart Dispensers for Bioassay Development
Ink jet dispensing is great since it can be used with variety of different materials and we have various dispensers with different microfluidic shapes to handle a range of viscosities and particle sizes, shown here
. This makes it possible to work with nucleic acids, proteins, even intact cells or bioprinting inks. Therefore there are many opportunities to develop innovative bioassays using this type of equipment.
To further facilitate the implementation of bioassay development, we have also developed technique that allows for very precise synchronization of the piezoelectric dispensing process with other devices such as cameras, light sensors and illumination modules (ie., LEDs). This allows the possiblity of detecting the droplet whether it is coming out of the nozzle or as it hits the substrate surface.
This can be used to characterize the sample as it is coming out of the dispenser. For example, say you wanted to dispense fluorescently labeled cells (ie., similar to a FACS cell sorter). Using this technique we can flash a LED for exciting the fluorescence and using a filter in front of the camera (or it could be a photodiode) and collect the signal at the same time as the flash which is both done at a precise time after the nozzle dispensers.
Like cell sorting this can also be applied to doing chemical reactions. Data can be collected immediately after the dispensing so take pyro DNA sequencing for example, in this case if a nucleotide is incorporated during the DNA synthesis process, light is released which can be measured. We can put 4 different smart dispensers on a system (A,T,G and C) and read feedback as the nucleotides get incorporated.