Automated Microfluidic Instrument (AMI)

Microfluidic instruments are often limited to one specific assay, leading to a need for multiple instruments in a typical lab setting. Most microfluidic chips have similar core operations, such as pumping, heating, cooling, mixing, and analysis, suggesting that one versatile instrument could potentially run many chips, if designed in a flexible manner.

Our project proposes one approach to having an instrument run many assays by adding flexibility in the interfacing approaches and the design of the microfluidic chips.  We are building an integrated, automated microfluidic instrument for performing a series of complex biological microreactions.  The system consists of a disposable microfluidic chip, a rapid-change microfluidic interface for thermal and flow control of the reaction volumes in the microfluidic chip, and peripheral equipment for automation.  The system has demonstrated effective mixing of reactant volumes of 0.5ul to 10ul with a variety of reagents, pumping capabilities of 1ul to 10ul +/-0.5ul, thermal control of reaction volumes from 4C to 70C +/-1C, and biocompatibility with mRNA processing, e.g. library prep including DNase, rRNA capture, magnetic bead capture, incubation, and cDNA synthesis.

Disposable Chip









Control Platform