APPLICATIONS FOR NANOCOATINGS

Accurate and precise control of surface properties is essential for exploiting the full potential of advanced micro- and nanoscale devices. Therefore, Surfix’s nanocoatings are of added value for numerous applications in the field of micro- and nanotechnology. Our nanocoatings are predominantly applied in the life sciences domain, for example in microfluidic chips and biosensors, two key components of Lab-on-a-Chip (LoC) devices for Point-of-Care (PoC) diagnostics.

Surface modification is a key step in the manufacturing process of these components, as it provides them with essential properties such as biorecognition, antifouling and wettability. In many cases it is beneficial to have local control of these properties, i.e. patterns of different functionalities on the surface. This is enabled by Surfix's unique nanocoating technologies.



POINT-OF-CARE DEVICES

The goal of PoC technology is to move diagnostic testing from the clinical laboratory to a location closer to the patient, e.g. the physician’s office or even the patient’s home. The benefits of PoC testing include faster diagnosis, more frequent testing (and therefore more accurate monitoring), and reduced inconvenience for the patient. PoC testing is also one of the key enabling technologies for the development of companion diagnostics in the field of personalized medicine. Last but not least, PoC testing holds great promise for bringing high level healthcare to remote locations with limited infrastructure, e.g. in developing countries.



Well known PoC diagnostic tests are the home pregnancy test and glucose tests for diabetes monitoring. Current PoC applications are mostly limited to simple assays and qualitative (yes/no) tests. In recent years, there has been a strong drive to extend PoC testing to more complex and quantitative assays. This requires a number of technological issues to be overcome, and this development is driven by advances in microfluidic, biosensor, and Lab-on-a-Chip technologies.


The ideal PoC device is a complete ‘sample-to-answer’ system, meaning that the user only has to load a sample, e.g. a drop of blood, and start the device, and then obtains the test result without any further user intervention. In many cases the PoC device contains a (disposable) cartridge into which the sample is introduced. The cartridge is inserted in a reader which contains the hardware and electronics for analyzing the sample and interfacing with the user. Here we focus exclusively on the cartridge, since this is the part of the device to which the sample is exposed. A typical cartridge contains microfluidic channels and reservoirs for handling the sample and reagents required for sample preparation and reaction. When the reaction is complete, the sample is delivered to an analysis chamber, where one or more biosensors measure the presence and/or the concentration of certain biomarkers.



Microfluidic chips can take many shapes and forms, and may be composed of silicon, glass, polymers, or even paper. Moreover, different materials may be combined in a hybrid device. The same goes for biosensors, where metals (e.g. gold), semiconductors (e.g. silicon) and dielectrics (e.g. silicon oxide or silicon nitride) are widely used. Regardless of the selected material, for optimum performance of the device it is essential that not only the bulk properties are considered, but the surface properties are also taken into account. Surfix's nanocoatings can be applied to many different microfluidic and biosensor materials and are therefore ideally suited for optimizing the surface properties and therefore the performance of these devices.




A NANOCOATING FOR EVERYONE


Surfix’s nanocoatings allow the coating of a wide range of materials to control essential surface properties such as wettability, protein adsorption, and biorecognition, thereby enhancing the performance of micro- and nanodevices like biosensors or microfluidic devices in various areas of application. The nanocoating properties are highly tuneable, which enables us to customize our nanocoating to your device and your application. A selection of the possibilities is given below, but do not hesitate to enquire for other options.






Substrate materials

  • polymers (PE/PP,
    COC/COP, SU-8, PC,
    PMMA, PEEK, PET, ...)
  • ceramics (glass, silicon,
    silicon oxide, silicon nitride, 
    silicon carbide, ...)
  • paper, (nitro)cellulose
  • selected metals



Surface properties

  • hydrophobic
  • hydrophilic
  • anti-biofouling
  • biofunctionalizable



Added value

  • wettability control
  • reduced non-specific
    adsorption (biofouling)
  • optimized specific
    biomolecular interactions
  • increased sensitivity,
    stability, and lifetime



Application examples

  • point-of-care diagnostics
  • drug discovery
  • lab-on-a-chip
  • organ-on-a-chip
  • microfluidics
  • biosensors