Friday, December 25, 2009

UT-Austin Offers Technology License for New Nano Materials for BioMEMS Device Fabrication

Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) devices are growing in market prominence through many valuable uses. One of the foremost growth areas for these device types is the biological arena. BioMEMS devices are exemplified by products, such as "lab on a chip," which are micro-scale devices capable of performing and providing results of biological tests. Another example would be bio-sensors for measuring and transmitting biological information. The use of such devices promises to revolutionize the healthcare industry by enabling less invasive, less painful, and less expensive diagosis and treatment. Continuing research in this area is expected, as technological advances help meet market needs.

Researchers Shaochen Chen, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering and Li-Hsin Han, M.S., Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a sacrificial material for building three-dimensional microstructures. The material is an emulsion formed by mixing a photo-curable liquid, a perfluoronated liquid, and a surfactant. The surfactant has a wide fluoro-philic site and a narrow hydrocarbon-philic site, which enables the formation of organic droplets in the fluorinated liquid. Upon exposure to light, the micro-droplets are polymerized and the emulsion becomes solid. The solidified emulsion provides a temporary molding material, suitable as a scaffold for construction or micromachining of organic materials.

The material provides a more efficient method of manufacture of organic-based micro-structures. The bio-MEMS market is rapidly growing through the design and implementation of lab-on-a-chip technologies, biosensors, targeted drug delivery devices, and gene therapy devices. Additional market opportunities exist in military and industrial applications for micro-scale environmental sensors and transmitters.

Benefits of the University of Texas material include:

The material is efficient for MEMS manufacture, as it is a liquid.

The material is effective as a sacrificial material, as it is removable under normal ambient conditions.

The material is chemically and physically inert to the materials of microstructures.

The material is easily removed by a solvent which will not affect the geometry of organic microstructures being supported.

The technology is available for licensing from the University.  Interested parties should contact the University of Texas Office of Technology Commercialization.

OTC Contact Information: Les Nichols, Licensing Specialist, Tel: 512-471-2995
Project ID: 1803-AL, Patent Pending,  Available for licensing
Technology Status: Lab/bench prototype

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