IBM Research - Zurich scientists have created a one-step, point-of-care-diagnostic test, based on an innovative silicon chip that requires less sample volume, is significantly faster, portable, easy to use and can test for many diseases, including one of world's leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease.
The scientists have encoded the forces of capillary action on a microfluidic chip made of a silicon compound, similar to those used in computer chips, thus leveraging IBM's vast experience in developing and manufacturing silicon semiconductor wafers. The chip, which measures 1 × 5 centimeters (0.39 x 2 inches), contains sets of micrometer wide channels where the test sample flows through in approximately 15 seconds, several times faster then traditional tests. Uniquely, the filling speed can be adjusted to several minutes when the chip requires additional time to read a more complex disease marker. The results are so quick and accurate that a patient’s serum or blood sample, could be tested immediately following a myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, to enable the doctor to take a course of action and to predict the patients survival rate.
Courtesy of IBM Research - Zurich