Sunday, January 10, 2010

Laboratory on a piece of paper.

Scientists in the United States has made a disposable paper device to test the purity of drinking water with low cost.

George Whitesides, Zihong Nie and colleagues at Harvard University, Cambridge, the United States has designed a paper-based electrochemical devices that can detect small concentrations of heavy metal ions in the water.

Heavy metal ions such as mercury, lead, and cadmium are toxic, and materials that can not be recycled into humans and animals through drinking water. Simple device of a sheet of paper can detect metal ions in water at levels as low as one part per billion (ppb), which is much lower than the guide values of the World Health Organization (<10>

With the advantage of low production cost, paper-based analytical tools are expected to be used in developing countries. "Paper diagnostic tool that we created can be used by family households with limited resources to test their drinking water safety," said Nie.

This device consists of three carbon and silver ink electrodes printed on a sheet of paper or polyester film. Microfluiditas channels made from polymer pattern on paper and form hydrophobic barriers limiting fluid in the channel and on the electrode.

The team says that this device is versatile and can have many other uses. For example in medical diagnosis of diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria or the monitoring of the environment in developing regions. "This can also be applied to the inspection of food for ordinary households," he added Nie.

"This discovery is a good application of the use of paper-based microfluidics. Merger Electrochemical opens the possibilities to expand the number of tests that can be done, "commented David Holmes, an expert in microfluidics biosensors and biomedical devices at University College London, UK.

Scientists in the United States has made a disposable paper device to test the purity of drinking water with low cost.

George Whitesides, Zihong Nie and colleagues at Harvard University, Cambridge, the United States has designed a paper-based electrochemical devices that can detect small concentrations of heavy metal ions in the water.

Heavy metal ions such as mercury, lead, and cadmium are toxic, and materials that can not be recycled into humans and animals through drinking water. Simple device of a sheet of paper can detect metal ions in water at levels as low as one part per billion (ppb), which is much lower than the guide values of the World Health Organization (<10>

With the advantage of low production cost, paper-based analytical tools are expected to be used in developing countries. "Paper diagnostic tool that we created can be used by family households with limited resources to test their drinking water safety," said Nie.

This device consists of three carbon and silver ink electrodes printed on a sheet of paper or polyester film. Microfluiditas channels made from polymer pattern on paper and form hydrophobic barriers limiting fluid in the channel and on the electrode.

The team says that this device is versatile and can have many other uses. For example in medical diagnosis of diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria or the monitoring of the environment in developing regions. "This can also be applied to the inspection of food for ordinary households," he added Nie.

"This discovery is a good application of the use of paper-based microfluidics. Merger Electrochemical opens the possibilities to expand the number of tests that can be done, "commented David Holmes, an expert in microfluidics biosensors and biomedical devices at University College London, UK.

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