Researchers at the Attophotonics Biosciences in Austria and the University of Applied Sciences, in Wiener Neustadt, have collaborated to develop a novel nanoparticle microfluidic color device for nanotech medical diagnostics. The lab-on-a-chip was able to detect interleukin-6 as a vital marker for acute sepsis.
Point-of-care medical diagnostics form a critical part of present day healthcare. Prominent studies have stressed the importance of these diagnostics, which provide information on-the-spot and enable medical personnel to provide appropriate treatment. These devices also provide surveillance data for public health intervention. Due to these reasons, researchers are striving to develop effective, portable and simple diagnostic devices.
In novel point-of-care medical diagnostics, tiny metallic nanoparticles are to be used as color-changing components. Similar to how the scales on a butterfly's wing glimmer under light, these nanoparticles also shimmer in the same manner. The researchers used immune-reactive proteins that captured palladium or gold nanoparticles in an immunoassay. The nanoparticles were positioned at a distance of a few nanometers over a light reflective surface as a thin layer. The mirror and the nanoparticles together create an interference system. The color of the interference system may be tuned across the visible light spectrum. A sample is provided to the microfluidic system and if a disease marker exists in the sample it will attach itself to the nanoparticles, leading to a change of visible color.
When a silver colloidal solution is added, the change of color becomes more apparent. The tests can be performed within a couple of minutes and do not require any sample incubation times. It can also be performed on cloudy samples. The tests were accurate and sensitive to 500 pg/ml of the sample.
The research team comprised of Roland Palkovits from the University of Applied Sciences and Thomas Schalkhammer and his associates at Attophotonics Biosciences.