Wednesday, August 17, 2011

US Patent 7998431 - Nanostructured surface for wettability control

Lab-on-a-chip devices often include an electrophoretic system to control the movement of biological material in microfluidic channels. This patent from Alcatel-Lucent teaches a way to use arrays of nanoscale posts which may achieve similar effects for smaller quantities of biofluids. Claim 1 reads:

1. An apparatus, comprising:

a substrate having a surface a volume-tunable-material on said surface; and

fluid-support-structures over said surface, each of said fluid-support-structures being partially embedded in said volume-tunable-material wherein side portions of said fluid-support-structures contact said volume-tunable-material and tops of said fluid-support-structures protrude out of said volume-tunable-material, each of said fluid-support-structures has at least one dimension of about 1 millimeter or less and said fluid-support-structures are moveable in response to a volume transition of said volume-tunable-material.