Current gels used in blood separation tubes create an imperfect barrier between the blood components because of their physical and thixotropic nature. As a result, blood components tend to leak into the gel layer or vice versa during transport and storage. To overcome these problems, we demonstrate the use of a UV-curable thixotropic gel composed of a sorbitol-based gelator in a diacrylate oligomer. Initially, the sample is a physical gel composed of weak, non-covalent bonds, and its thixotropic nature allows it to flow under centrifugation and form a barrier between the density-stratified layers of blood. Immediately afterward, the gel is chemically crosslinked by short exposure to UV light for 10–30 s. This results in a rigid, impenetrable barrier that is freeze-thaw stable. The gel is compatible with blood, allowing blood samples to be stored in the tube and analyzed over long times. We believe the present method is a significant advance in the practice of blood analysis for medical purposes.
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