WARF: P02097US

Method and Apparatus for Measuring the Environment within a Microfluidic Device


David Beebe, Jaisree Moorthy

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a simple and inexpensive apparatus for monitoring the environment within a microfluidic device.
OVERVIEWMicrofluidic systems are used for an increasing number of applications, including the evaluation of water purity and determination of the pH range of fluid samples. Several methods have been developed to detect and monitor the environment inside these micron-sized devices; however, they generally require complex instrumentation, are difficult to fabricate, need large power sources and are not portable.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a simple and inexpensive apparatus for monitoring the environment within a microfluidic device. The apparatus displays a positive/negative type of readout and is directly fabricated within the microchannel. The readout structure, which consists of dyes imbedded within a hydrogel matrix, functions as both a sensor and a display unit. When specific agents are present, the hydrogel structure swells and releases the dye molecules. Both the size and color of the readout structure change in response to the presence of a predetermined amount of a specific chemical or agent.
  • Rapid screening of large numbers of compounds
  • Rapid – much faster than current methods
  • Inexpensive – no need for expensive equipment, such as a spectrometer, for detection
  • Easily fabricated
  • Portable – no batteries or other power sources required
  • Simple – no need for complex instrumentation
  • Color change can be seen by the unaided human eye.
  • A combinatorial readout sensitive to more than one agent can be fabricated.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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