Optical Fractionation and Sorting

A UK University is offering for licence or technical co-operation an optical fractioning and sorting system which has a specialised light pattern, allowing microfluidic sorting in three dimensions and sorting based on size, shape, density and refractive index. This new system is a non-invasive methodology suitable for biomedical applications e.g. sorting macromolecules, organelles, cells etc.
Optical microfluidic sorting allows biological or other matter to be sorted or fractionated by criteria including size, shape, density and refractive index. The fractionation system comprises means for forming a three dimensional optical lattice that is operable to separate particles that have varied physical characteristics. Preferably, the wells of the optical lattice are interlinked. For example, the wells may be linked in such a manner as to provide deflection greater than or equal to 15 degrees.
The technique may have the ability to sort matter from the scale of macro-molecules all the way up to large cells. In addition to the technical advantages of optical sorting and fractionation, the inherent simplicity of the approach could allow the system to be integrated with the existing laboratory equipment currently found in any research laboratory or large hospital Innovative Aspects: The technology provides:
? Specialised light pattern
? Microfluidic sorting in three dimensions
? Sorting based on size, shape, density and refractive index
? Non-invasive methodology suitable for biomedical applications e.g. sorting macromolecules, organelles, cells etc.
Classical methods of fractionating and sorting from biological samples rely on shape, density, charge, tagged-marker selection and many other criteria. Equipment employed includes centrifugation, electrophoresis, liquid and solid chromatography, and fluorescent and other labelled sorting. These techniques often require pre-treatment of biological material, or derive an altered product. A non-invasive technique for the sorting, separation and analysis of biological matter that maintains the ?natural? state of the material would provide key insights to researchers in biomedicine. A technology that provides this functionality and allows integration and miniaturisation into microanalysis systems, often called ?lab-on-chip?, would be of immense benefit. Such an approach would give many advances, from the ability to work with very small volumes of analyte, to the ability to mass-produce devices such that they are available to a wider range of end-users.

Potential Markets
Optical sorting and fractionation has the potential to be a key contributing element to the success of lab-on-chip systems. Optical sorting and fractionation also have applications where gel electrophoresis, centrifuging and Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) are currently the methods of choice. Typical future users of optical sorting and fractionation technologies will be in biology and medical laboratories and in Research & Development laboratories developing novel micromachines, colloids and bio-engineering processes, etc.

Collaboration Wanted: License Agreement
Ref: 05 GB SCTI 0D3E      Source: United_kingdom      Last Updated: 19 Dec 2006