Biolab on a CD

Dec. 11, 2003
NASA researchers are developing miniature laboratories embedded in CDs to conduct biological tests aboard the International Space Station. There are two versions of the CDs, one plastic and disposable, the other glass and reusable.

"The CDs let you do thousands of biological sample tests quickly and in the field," says Michael Flynn, a NASA Ames scientist.

A liquid sample goes into a small opening near the center of the CD. A machine spins the disc to spread the sample fluid through tiny, capillarylike pipes and valves toward the outer edges. Special dyes in the CD fluoresce when exposed to certain proteins and particular portions of DNA in a sample. A light in the machine illuminates the disc while a microscope and digital camera image the glowing test sample after it stops spinning. "There are already thousands of fluorescent tests for conducting biological tests on bacteria, protein, and viruses," says Flynn. "The lab-on-a-CD system lets us automate a process that traditionally was time consuming and expensive." In the future, researchers would like to add a multidisc changer so they can test several CDs simultaneously.

Sponsored Recommendations

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.


May 15, 2024
Production equipment is expensive and needs to be protected against input abnormalities such as voltage, current, frequency, and phase to stay online and in operation for the ...

Solenoid Valve Mechanics: Understanding Force Balance Equations

May 13, 2024
When evaluating a solenoid valve for a particular application, it is important to ensure that the valve can both remain in state and transition between its de-energized and fully...

Solenoid Valve Basics: What They Are, What They Do, and How They Work

May 13, 2024
A solenoid valve is an electromechanical device used to control the flow of a liquid or gas. It is comprised of two features: a solenoid and a valve. The solenoid is an electric...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!