Viscometry of microliter biofluids

C. Kim, J. Shim, S. An, M. Lee, D. Weitz, W. Jhe
Seoul National University,

Keywords: viscosity, microliter, biofluids


Complex liquids such as polymers or biofluids ranging from fluids to semi-solids can be characterized by their viscosity. It represents a mechanical reponse of soft materials that is quite well known but nonetheless not much employed in biochemical and medical applications. Such viscometric properties are measured by a viscometer, a device measuring the mechanical properties such as the viscosity. However, the current measurement is limited to the bulk-scale materials and requires typically at least tens of microliter volume, which limits its applicability and expandability. We plan to develop a novel bio-medical instrumentation that allows viscometric characterization of very small-volume complex fluids, as small as tens of nanoliter and even down to the molecular interfacial scale. It will be initially designed for medical diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma disease, with potential extension to biofluids, polymers, petrochemicals, food, cosmetics and pharmaceutics industries. We aim at demonstrating the working principle of the small-volume technique based on the highly sensitive force sensor by using the standard sample, silicone oil. Moreover, we have performed a preliminary study using the aqueous humor for medical assessment of the glaucoma disease. Our novel instrumentation may establish solid development and widen its applicability and usefulness creating a new field of science and technology besides the diverse fields of R&D and fluid-based platforms duch as bio, oil, cosmetics, medicine, food, pharmaceutics and chemical industries. We will further improve our current bench-top setup into a prototype instrumentation, which can be further refined suitable for commercialization into the market. This represents a collaborative work between W. Jhe of Seoul National University and D. Weitz of Harvard University.