Advanced interfaced micro-systems Research for analysis of Real-wOrld clinical, food, environmental and Waste Samples
Duration: 36 months
Abstract: The goal of ARROWS was to develop a microengineered platform for the analysis of ‘real-world’ samples from the food, drink and healthcare industries with the principle deliverable being a chip- scale capillary electrophoresis/liquid chromatography mass spectrometer (CE/LC-MS) that matches the performance of today’s mainframe systems.
Next-generation micro-analytical devices from Tyndall, Microsaic, VTT and CSEM were combined into powerful, multi-sensing tools capable of identifying trace quantities of the chemical species of interest (e.g. pesticides, disease biomarkers). Microsaic Systems developed an MS based on patented ionchip technology. CE/LC/MS is a universal technique and analytical applications are unlimited. ARROWS focused on two applications: (a) detection of cancer biomarkers in fractional spots found on tissue, and (b) pesticide detection for food analysis.
ARROWS utilized the consortium’s ‘best-in-class’ capabilities to exploit the scaling laws associated with microfluidics, chip-based chromatography and electrophoresis and microengineered advanced mass spectrometry to minimise analysis time, sample volume and reduce manufacturing costs. These scaling laws address the cross-cutting issue of sustainability by reducing solvent consumption, waste and power consumption by orders of magnitude.
Fabrication has been completed on chips for the miniaturised mass spectrometer and a functional mass spectrometer based on MEMS components has been built. Both the LC module and the CE module were successfully integrated with the triple quadrupole system and a number of runs were performed to demonstrate the detection capabilities. The two integrated systems are shown in Fig 1 and Fig 2. These systems are prototype tools and are currently at the breadboard stage. Further development on each module is ongoing and they can either be used as standalone systems coupled to other techniques or as a complete integrated tool.