Paper-based Molecular Diagnostics
Diagnosis of an increasing number of diseases (such as HIV, and antibiotic resistant bacteria), rely on centralized laboratories with specialized instruments and skilled personnel. This type of clinical analysis with long lead times and high cost is inappropriate for point of care diagnostics Portable, automated, and disposable devices with integrated molecular diagnostics (iMDx), could solve this problem.
We develop materials, methods, and diagnostic techniques to enable portable integrated molecular diagnostics (iMDx) devices, that are disposable (almost zero-cost), and that can detect a broad range of diseases using DNA amplification. To achieve this, we will develop “3D microfiber electrofluidics” (MEF). MEFs rely on simple and readily available porous sheets including paper, and textiles. Their fabrication is simple, and yet they are very powerful because they can monolithically integrate 3D microfluidics, 3D microelectronics, electrochemical analysis, storage of reagents / biomolecules, as well as handling and manipulation of cells.
Self-Assembled Energy Storage
Batteries will be used an increasingly diverse range of applications. In today’s energy storage systems, e.g. Li-ion batteries, the anode and cathode materials are printed from microparticles onto two-dimensional substrates which limits their volumetric energy density: ideal battery structures should be three-dimensional. In addition to this shortcoming, the current use of microparticles for energy storage constrains the optimization of energy storage, since the mechanism of energy storage occurs at the nanoscale.
Our research aims at solving both these problems by exploring substrates with high surface area (such as foams, nanopaper, and aerogels) for energy storage. We then use molecular self-assembly of nano particles (e.g. as Lithium Salt NPs, ad carbon NPs, and 2D materials such as MXene), onto the high surface areas to form energy storage devices that are fully three-dimensional.
E-textiles and Wearables
We use textiles and fibers as a new platform for micro total analysis systems. Our researcg directions include:
i) Developing textile-based microfluidics systems by exploring printing, and electrowetting to guide fluids in textiles.
ii) Integrating microelectronics using conductive fibers (e.g. conducting polymers, metals and carbon fibers), to perform electroanalysis and other electronic function both at the textile and at the fiber level.
iii) Exploring, cellulose-based textile, as a material for storage of biomolecules, and for real-time biochemical reactions.
iv) Exploring textiles as a wearable sensor for body fluids.