Manufacturing low-cost miniaturized disposable ‘Lab-on-a-Chip’ plastic cartridges by injection moulding (RUISKUCHIP) Antero Jokinen and Topi Kosonen
Introduction The ageing of the population is leading to a huge increase in health care costs, and it has led to a special need for ‘Point Of Care’ (POC) testing, which means that people can monitor their health condition at home and even, in some cases, diagnose diseases automatically and quickly with low-cost devices. In environmental control, e.g. water quality testing and many other areas like food, and the chemical and process industry, there is also a strong demand for automatic, fast, reliable and portable analysis of the composition and condition of raw materials, including the quality of the products. The aim is ‘sample in, answer out’ with a low-cost disposable cartridge that automatically takes care of sampling, dosing, transferring and mixing the required liquids, analytes and reagents and also carries out the analysis so that the result can be read simply and quickly. The main issue is to develop sample handling to be automatic and simple enough that no expertise is needed and practically everyone can carry out the analysis. This means that no pipetting or handling of test tubes is needed
and that all the reagents and analytes are integrated into a disposable plastic cartridge. To ensure commercial application, these kinds of disposable high-volume and hightechnology products should be suitable for low-cost mass manufacturing, which means that the design of the functions and component inside the cartridge should be done carefully, and they should be integrated into the moulding process and the moulded parts so that the need for separate components and assembling steps is minimized. VTT is conducting research in many areas of miniaturized systems and micro-manufacturing and has long experience of microfluidics and of developing low-cost disposable micrototal analysing products to meet the needs of medical diagnostic companies and the chemical and process industry. Figure 1 shows an example of a disposable plastic cartridge for handling liquids. In the Ruiskuchip project, the aim was to develop the manufacturing of disposable plastic cartridges for automatic sampling, dosing, transferring and mixing of liquids.
Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)