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Science Marches on (Me) January 16, 2014

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Star Trek Technology.

When I was a lad of thirty (so very long ago now), I had a DIONEX ion chromatograph on my lab bench that occupied the whole damn thing (Windows 1.0 was new then), about ten feet by three feet by four feet.  It separated ions and certain organic molecules and let me count how much of what was in a properly prepared sample.  Pretty much cutting edge at the time, as I recall.

The same capabilities seem to be embodied in a 1.5 kg box smaller than my lunch pail, and with better sensitivity:

Chemistry: Lab-on-a-chip realizes potential

“Engineers from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and colleagues at the University of Basel, Switzerland, have designed and developed a compact, portable analytical instrument that can detect multiple ions and molecules down to a level of 300 parts per billion (ppb) in less than a minute. The machine, based on lab-on-a-chip technology, needs only drop-sized liquid samples. The analysis is very quick, precise and sensitive, and can be performed remotely as no direct contact with the solution is necessary. As such, the device has widespread potential applications in the water, food and beverage, agriculture, environmental, pharmaceutical and medical industries.” The abstract can be found here.  No mention of who actually sells one but at least this is one of the few lab-on-a-chip designs with real published data I have seen.

We’re getting there.


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