Microfluidics & Consumables
In addition to the storage of liquid reagents, complex assays often require storage of dry reagents. While dispensing reagents into cavities on the cartridge seems straightforward, realizing this concept on a production level has several drawbacks (e.g. handling of large parts, throughput for the drying process, and possible impact of the manufacturing and assembly processes on the reagent). Hence a reliable, cost effective, and scalable solution for bringing dry reagents onto Lab-on-a-Chip cartridges is needed.
Reagents are dispensed and dried onto reagent carriers, so-called reagent plugs (“RP”). These plugs are prepared independently from the cartridge in larger batches, functionalized on a SBS titer plate format, and assembled to the cartridge in a final assembly step. The plastic material of the plug, the capacity, and its surface properties/coatings can be optimized independently from the material of the fluidic cartridge. Furthermore, the processes for dry reagent preparation can be developed and performed independently of the cartridge manufacturing processes using standard equipment (e.g. titer-plate format). This concept has been proven to be scalable and compatible with industrial functionalization and assembly processes. In several projects yields and cartridge costs could be significantly improved over conventional storage concepts. In addition, the proprietary RP approach reflects the platform character of many POC applications, where different assays are reflected differently functionalized carriers, while the ordinary consumable manufacturing process chain keeps unchanged.