Super-Thin Membranes Clear the Way for Chip-Sized Pumps

Diagnostic Devices the Size of a Credit Card Are Now a Possibility

The ability to shrink laboratory-scale processes to automated chip-sized systems would revolutionize biotechnology and medicine. For example, inexpensive and highly portable devices that process blood samples to detect biological agents such as anthrax are needed by the U.S. military and for homeland security efforts. One of the challenges of “lab-on-a-chip” technology is the need for miniaturized pumps to move solutions through micro-channels. Electroosmotic pumps (EOPs), devices in which fluids appear to magically move through porous media in the presence of an electric field, are ideal because they can be readily miniaturized. EOPs however, require bulky, external power sources, which defeats the concept of portability. But a super-thin silicon membrane developed at the University of Rochester could now make it possible to drastically shrink the power source, paving the way for diagnostic devices the size of a credit card.

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UR Ventures Launches New Brand

After several months of intense self-reflection, the University of Rochester Office of Technology Transfer relaunched itself as UR Ventures today, 21 October 2013. UR Ventures has a new look, a new structure, and a renewed focus on technology commercialization. UR Ventures will provide the University’s technology transfer functions with an emphasis on getting research discoveries to the public –through business formation, technology licensing, and through public disclosure.

UR Ventures is adopting a project management approach to every discovery, focusing on locating and securing the resources necessary to achieve success . . . or on defining the gaps and missing resources standing in the way of success. The new office will develop the information and resources needed to be better able to make tough decisions and then to match University of Rochester technologies with businesses and investors that will move them forward to the market.