Centrifugal automation of a triglyceride bioassay on a low-cost hybrid paper-polymer device
We present a novel paper-polymer hybrid construct for the simple automation of fundamental microfluidic operations in a lab-on-a-disc platform. The novel design, we term a paper siphon, consists of chromatographic paper strips embedded along a siphon microchannel. The paper siphon relies on two main interplaying forces to create unique valving and liquid-sampling methods in centrifugal microfluidics. At sufficiently low speeds, the inherent wicking of the paper overcomes the rotationally induced centrifugal force to drive liquids towards inwards positions of the disc. At elevated speeds, the dominant centrifugal force will extract liquid from the siphon paper strip towards the edge of the disc. Distinct modes of flow control have been developed to account for water (reagent) and more viscous plasma samples. The system functionality is demonstrated by the automation of sequential sample preparation steps in a colorimetric triglyceride assay: plasma is metered from a whole blood sample and incubated with a specific enzymatic mixture, followed by detection of triglyceride levels through (off-disc) absorbance measurements. The successful quantification of triglycerides and the simple fabrication offer attractive directions for such hybrid devices in low-cost bioanalysis.