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Issue 23, 2014
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NMR–DMF: a modular nuclear magnetic resonance–digital microfluidics system for biological assays

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Abstract

We present a modular nuclear magnetic resonance–digital microfluidics (NMR–DMF) system as a portable diagnostic platform for miniaturized biological assays. With increasing number of combinations between designed probes and a specific target, NMR has become an accurate and rapid assay tool, which is capable of detecting particular kinds of proteins, DNAs, bacteria and cells with a customized probe quantitatively. Traditional sample operation (e.g., manipulation and mixing) relied heavily on human efforts. We herein propose a modular NMR–DMF system to allow the electronic automation of multi-step reaction-screening protocols. A figure-8 shaped coil is proposed to enlarge the usable inner space of a portable magnet by 4.16 times, generating a radio frequency (RF) excitation field in the planar direction. By electronically managing the electro-wetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) effects over an electrode array, preloaded droplets with the inclusion of biological constituents and targets can be programmed to mix and be guided to the detection site (3.5 × 3.5 mm2) for high-sensitivity NMR screening (static B field: 0.46 T, RF field: 1.43 mT per ampere), with the result (voltage signal) displayed in real-time. To show the system's utility, automated real-time identification of 100 pM of avidin in a 14 μL droplet was achieved. The system shows promise as a robust and portable diagnostic device for a wide variety of biological analyses and screening applications.

Graphical abstract: NMR–DMF: a modular nuclear magnetic resonance–digital microfluidics system for biological assays

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Jul 2014, accepted on 27 Sep 2014 and first published on 15 Oct 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4AN01285B
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Citation: Analyst, 2014,139, 6204-6213
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    NMR–DMF: a modular nuclear magnetic resonance–digital microfluidics system for biological assays

    K. Lei, P. Mak, M. Law and R. P. Martins, Analyst, 2014, 139, 6204
    DOI: 10.1039/C4AN01285B

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