Smartphone-app based point-of-care testing for myocardial infarction biomarker cTnI using an autonomous capillary microfluidic chip with self-aligned on-chip focusing (SOF) lenses
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of mortality in the world. Most of the diagnostic processes usually require bulky instruments and trained professionals, which cannot meet the demand for fast, early and regular bedside diagnosis. In this paper, a bespoke app on a smartphone and an autonomous capillary microfluidic chip (ACMC) are combined to realize the point-of-care testing of cardiac troponin I (cTnI). The smartphone-app-ACMC platform was based on the sandwich immunofluorescence principle and featured self-aligned on-chip focusing (SOF) lenses which can avoid the complex optical coupling process. The operator only needs to introduce 100 μl sample into the ACMC, where the priming, time-delaying, mixing and washing steps for the assay can be accomplished automatically. With the help of the bespoke app and a palm-sized optical attachment, the smartphone can capture fluorescence images, process fluorescence intensity information, output detection results and save the results for long-term monitoring. Our results showed that within 12 min, the detection limit of 78 pg ml−1 and 94 pg ml−1 for cTnI was attained in buffer and spiked human serum, respectively. Our proposed platform has the potential to be applied in the POCT field especially for some resource-limited settings.