‘Fab-Chips’: a versatile, fabric-based platform for low-cost, rapid and multiplexed diagnostics
Low cost and scalable manufacture of lab-on-chip devices for applications such as point-of-care testing is an urgent need. Weaving is presented as a unified, scalable and low-cost platform for the manufacture of fabric chips that can be used to perform such testing. Silk yarns with different properties are first selected, treated with the appropriate reagent solutions, dried and handloom-woven in one step into an integrated fabric chip. This platform has the unique advantage of scaling up production using existing and low cost physical infrastructure. We have demonstrated the ability to create pre-defined flow paths in fabric by using wetting and non-wetting silk yarns and a Jacquard attachment in the loom. Further, we show that yarn parameters such as the yarn twist frequency and weaving coverage area may be conveniently used to tune both the wicking rate and the absorptive capacity of the fabric. Yarns optimized for their final function were used to create an integrated fabric chip containing reagent-coated yarns. Strips of this fabric were then used to perform a proof-of-concept immunoassay with sample flow taking place by capillary action and detection being performed by a visual readout.