Microfluidics-based lab-on-a-chip (LOC) systems have the potential to miniaturise complex laboratory procedures, integrating them on to a single microchip. These systems can be used to manipulate small volumes of fluid, but high throughput and large scale parallel operations are hindered by poor scalability. By combining large-area-electronics and electro-wetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) technologies, high speed liquid handling becomes possible.
ACXEL’s active pixel platform uses large-area electronics – thin-film transistors or ‘TFTs’ originally developed for flat-panel displays – to enable high-throughput liquid transportation.
Programmable logic can coordinate millions of these pixels (active elements) to perform complex tasks (e.g. droplet dispensing, transportation, reagent mixing, droplet splitting) over a large-scale.
Using state-of-the-art large area electronics manufacturing technologies, active pixel liquid handling systems can provide a high-throughput, low-cost and programmable platform for a wide range of applications in chemistry, biology and medicine related areas.
The Active-Pixel LOC (AP-LOC) platform enables fully automated, highly accurate, large-scale liquid-droplet manipulations, and fits seamlessly into existing bio-/chem-/medical production lines. Large TFT foundries facilitate low-cost TFT manufacturing for a variety of emergent application areas such as active sample handling systems.
Pixels are now very familiar from their use for flat panel displays. ACXEL has successfully transferred the pixel concept from displays to large area lab-on-chip.
The fast development of large-area electronics technologies means that TFT manufacturing costs are significantly reduced.
In some current systems, each electrode needsto be physically connected to outside electronics independently. If one sample preparation requires 20 electrodes, 16 runs in parallel will need more than 300 electrodes, requiring more than 300 connections.
Using ACXEL’s active pixel concept, each pixel can be controlled simply by selecting its row and the column address, greatly simplifying control.
A further benefit resulting from the heritage in flat panel displays is the potential for production using low cost solution-based printing techniques such as inkjet printing.