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Universal Microfluidic Automaton for Autonomous Sample Processing: Application to the Mars Organic Analyzer

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journal contribution
posted on 20.08.2013, 00:00 by Jungkyu Kim, Erik C. Jensen, Amanda M. Stockton, Richard A. Mathies
A fully integrated multilayer microfluidic chemical analyzer for automated sample processing and labeling, as well as analysis using capillary zone electrophoresis is developed and characterized. Using lifting gate microfluidic control valve technology, a microfluidic automaton consisting of a two-dimensional microvalve cellular array is fabricated with soft lithography in a format that enables facile integration with a microfluidic capillary electrophoresis device. The programmable sample processor performs precise mixing, metering, and routing operations that can be combined to achieve automation of complex and diverse assay protocols. Sample labeling protocols for amino acid, aldehyde/ketone and carboxylic acid analysis are performed automatically followed by automated transfer and analysis by the integrated microfluidic capillary electrophoresis chip. Equivalent performance to off-chip sample processing is demonstrated for each compound class; the automated analysis resulted in a limit of detection of ∼16 nM for amino acids. Our microfluidic automaton provides a fully automated, portable microfluidic analysis system capable of autonomous analysis of diverse compound classes in challenging environments.