A novel self supporting microfluidic chip for maintaining sample integrity during Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS) experiments

P.T. Docker, J. Kay, M. Malfois, M. Tully, K. Inoue, N. Terrill
Diamond light source, UK

Keywords: SAX-ray interogation, microfluidic chip, intergrated pump

Summary:

There is a need to supply buffer fluids to protein samples when they are being used in SAXS experiments. For a solution to be applicable, the device needs to be microfluidic and self sufficient. Many papers claim to have reliable on-chip pumping but a recent review article indicates that they are in their infancy and most researchers developing chips for similar applications still use macro sized syringe pumps. These however, incur large dead volumes. The microfluidic chip described in this work is built using rapid prototyping (RTP) and a commercially available micro fluidic pump measuring only 7x7x1mm to transport the buffer fluid. The total turnaround from files being drawn in CAD, being sent to the RPT company and delivered back takes 3 working days. These bespoke rapid prototype chips cost $20 with the pump adding an additional $15. Future work looks to fully characterise flow in the chip and to review the suitability of the approach. These chips offer a truly flexible development route for a microfluidic device without the additional requirement for macro fluidic pumps that so many of these devices rely on today.