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Microfluid research work for space based biology experiments

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: 27 January, 2010  (Application Story)
Raydiance is working with the Ames Research Centre to develop Microfluidics technology based on Smart Light Ultrafast laser for use on the International Space Station for research into Biology
Raydiance, a developer of the world’s first commercial-grade ultrafast laser, has partnered with the Small Spacecraft Division in the Engineering Directorate at NASA's Ames Research Centre, Moffett Field, Calif., to develop advanced microfluidics devices for space-based biological experiments.

Under the terms of a cooperative agreement funded by the Advanced Capabilities Division in NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate to support a Seed Fund project within NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA Ames' experts in fluidic design will employ Raydiance’s Smart Light ultrafast laser platform to fabricate next-generation microfluidics devices and components. These will be deployed on free-flying nanosatellites, the International Space Station, and future lunar and planetary research laboratories. Results from this work will advance capabilities for molecular and cellular diagnostics, enable rapid drug discovery and screening, and expand the understanding of the effects of the space environment on biological systems.

“This partnership brings together the powerful and versatile Smart Light ultrafast technology with the world-class microfluidics expertise of the NASA Ames' small spacecraft group,” said Barry Schuler, Chairman and CEO of Raydiance. “The capability to athermally ablate very precise features in transparent polymers and glasses, in addition to ceramics, will enable NASA Ames to rapidly fabricate complex and integrated components on a single microfluidics card. This collaborative work will have large implications for both the research and commercial worlds.”

The work at NASA Ames is led by Dr Antonio Ricco, chief technologist at the Small Satellite Division and John Hines, chief technologist in the Engineering Directorate. Tim Booth, Vice President of Project Management, is coordinating the Raydiance efforts for the project.

“We’re very excited about the additional capabilities the Raydiance system gives us to fabricate complex, multilevel microfluidic devices,” Dr Ricco said. “We anticipate these devices will be more reliable, let us add new functionality, and be more biocompatible than some other approaches we’ve examined. We should be able to quickly execute design changes as needed to accommodate a wide range of biological and chemical space studies with this new platform.”

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