Analytical Instrumentation

Analytical Instrumentation Portfolios

Most Recent Inventions

Temperature Gradient Handling System for Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) Measurements

Researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have developed a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) based method for measuring, in a single experiment, the temperature dependence of binding kinetics for biomolecular interactions. The method is based on a novel sample handling system that generates a spatial temperature gradient across an SPR sensor and is label free.

High Accuracy Angle Measuring Device for Industrial, Medical, Scientific or Recreational Use

A UW-Stout researcher has developed a high-accuracy angle measurement system that addresses the problems inherent to commercially available systems. In this novel device, a high accuracy rotary optical encoder is controlled by a microprocessor. The encoder consists of rotating optical disks and sensors that are precisely formed and placed to read angles with 0.001 arc second sensitivity (average) and better than ±0.1 arc second accuracy (single readings), which is comparable to the accuracy of the high-end commercial encoders currently on the market. This accuracy is maintained with strategies that combat the mechanical sources of error that are known disadvantages of other devices. The system can also be adjusted to compensate for any asymmetrical shifts that may occur. Mechanical sources of error and noise are further minimized by precision placement of disks and sensors, as well as low-friction reference points that keep components centered and level during rotation. In addition, multiple sensor heads eliminate major readout errors and remove the need for recalibration. All of these features and benefits are contained within a design that is both compact and portable. Beyond high accuracy and portability, the cost of this new angle measurement system is substantially lower than a high-end commercial system because it is easily constructed from readily available industrial grade components, bringing the production cost to roughly $2,000. Strikingly, this cost is comparable to the advertised price of other rotary position encoders that are less than one tenth as accurate. Its high accuracy, low cost, and portability make this new angle measurement system a strong option for use in virtually any of the current applications for absolute rotary encoders.

New Discoveries in Biological Safety: Liquid Crystal Detection of Hazardous Environmental Products

UW–Madison researchers have developed a novel LC-based method and device for accurately detecting low concentrations of volatile organic compounds.

When exposed to a VOC or other target analyte, blue phase-forming compositions consisting of nematic liquid crystals and chiral dopants undergo a response that can be observed with the naked eye, eliminating the need for additional steps. The VOCs can be detected in gaseous and liquid forms, and the sensitivity of the composition can be adjusted by changing the level of dopant concentration as well as adding non-volatile organics as sensitizing agents.

To address the problems of stability and dewetting, the inventors have developed a device that uses LC-phobic surfaces to isolate LC films within the microwells of an array. The LC films have uniform dimensions and are stabilized by capillary forces protecting against shock, gravity, heat and solvent exposure. They can be deposited via high throughput methods such as spin coating.

Single-Crystal Halide Perovskite Nanowires with Superior Performance

Metal halide perovskite-based material is emerging as a “superstar” semiconductor material for cost-effective photovoltaic applications. UW–Madison researchers have developed a practical solution growth method for producing single-crystal perovskite nanowires with superior material quality and lasing performance.

Specifically the new method is based on a facile process of low-temperature dissolution of a metal precursor film in a cation precursor solution, followed by recrystallization to form single-crystal perovskite nanostructures such as nanowires, nanorods and nanoplates. Diverse families of metal halide perovskite materials with different cations, anions and dimensionality with different properties can be made to enable high-performance device applications.

Optimized Nanoresonator Design Signals Breakthroughs in Spectrometry and Device Efficiency

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new method and structure for increasing the cross section of nanoresonators, thereby improving the concentration ratio of light (or other electromagnetic radiation) and device performance. The key to their approach is that the nanoresonator is surrounded by a material that provides increased light concentration.

Most Recent Patents

Gas-Phase Purification of Peptides Reaps Accuracy in Mass Spectrometry Quantitation

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method to eliminate interference by directly segregating ions of interest from similarly massed and charged non-targets or contaminants that were unintentionally co-isolated between stages of MS/MS.

This is accomplished using samples embedded with isobaric tags. Following initial ionization, an established proton transfer reaction (PTR) is commenced, reducing the charges of ions in the gas phase by introducing even-electron anions. The populations thus diverge according to mass-to-charge ratio, with the precursors of interest able to be selected.

During subsequent analysis of the purged ions, their tags are cleaved, fragmenting into charged particles that generate data readouts. Relative abundance of the purified peptides thus can be derived with significantly improved accuracy.

All-Glass Optical Microresonator for Single Molecule Spectroscopy and More

Building on their previous work, the researchers have developed all-glass microtoroidal resonators with improved sensitivity (i.e., superior Q/V ratio). Unlike their SiO2 on Si counterparts, the new resonators can be made chip scale – a significant advantage. Moreover, the use of glass in place of silicon makes the platform more desirable for applications including label-free sensing due to optical transparency in the visible region. Additionally, glass is a robust, chemically inert material and more biocompatible than silicon.

The new fabrication method follows the same general scheme as the previously developed oxide-on-silicon toroids, but the materials are inverted. This results in a silicon toroid atop an oxide pillar, followed by thermal oxidation to form an all-glass structure in the final step.

Robust Substrates Expand the Utility of Surface Plasmon Resonance Imaging for Analysis of Biomolecular Interactions

UW–Madison researchers have developed robust, SPR-compatible substrates. The key to these substrates is a rugged, chemically versatile carbon thin film overlayer placed on an SPR-active metal thin film.

Specifically, the substrates include a support surface capable of transmitting light, a metallic layer adhered to the support surface and a carbonaceous layer deposited on the metallic layer. The substrates also may include biomolecules attached to the carbonaceous, or carbon-rich, layer. These biomolecules may include oligonucleotides, DNA, RNA, proteins, amino acids, peptides or other small biomolecules that can be configured in one or more arrays.

The new substrates are more robust than conventional gold substrates, allowing assays to be performed under higher temperatures and harsher chemical conditions than currently is possible. Additionally, the carbon thin film overlayer is not susceptible to damage from UV irradiation.