Testing Standards Developed for Lab-On-a-Chip DevicesCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 14, 2012 02:11PM
One of the very promising technologies of the future is the lab-on-a-chip (LOC). This is a chip-sized device that is capable of performing chemical analyses that normally would require a larger, man-operated lab. Potentially LOCs could be used around the world to diagnosis diseases quickly and cheaply, which is very important for poorer nations or disaster areas. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are proposing that the testing standards for these devices be developed now, before we see them come to market.
Standards are important to have as they enable comparisons between products, and with LOCs still being developed, they could be invaluable. For example, the materials of the chip can sometimes give off a light of their own, which could disrupt any analysis of a sample. Having a standard way to measure this autofluorescence would better enable the study of how it does affect analysis, and the potential reduction of the light.
It is worth noting, as the researchers point out, that testing standards are different from product standards. Product standards determine the quality of a product but testing standards, like what the NIST researchers are proposing, are specifically for measuring the product, and thus enable product standards to exist.