Sandia creates MEMS device to catch blood cells

from the getting-cute-with-PR dept.
The press accounts indicate that a lot of people are just ga-ga over the silicon micro-device developed at Sandia National Labs. Described as a "Pac-Man-like microstructure" and the "gobbler", the device has silicon microteeth that open and close like jaws. The microjaws fit in a microchannel about one-third the width of a human hair (about 20 microns wide). When the jaws close, they trap a red blood cell. According to a Sandia press release on 20 August 2001, "The jaws, which open and close very rapidly, deform captured cells, and then, in less than the blink of an eye and almost playfully, let the little things loose. The blood cells travel on, regain their former shape and appear unharmed." [Playfully?]
Additional coverage can be found in this article from UPI. And Robert Trombatore writes: "A news item on the Scientific American web site details a just announced microdevice that can grab individual red blood cells flowing through a central channel. So far no practical uses, but the article mentions a few intriguing possibilities!"

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