The invention of the miniature lab-on-a-disc, or miniLOAD

Last year we reported on a CD integrated with microfluidics to diagnose disease (Chemistry World, April 2011, p20) and now, as proof that everything is always shrinking, Leslie Yeo’s group from RMIT University in Australia now report their invention of the miniature lab-on-a-disc, or miniLOAD. The new device, described in Small (DOI: 10.1002/smll.201102282) is a complete on chip version of the CD concept that does not involve any mechanically moving parts, instead the micropatterned disc is moved using acoustic waves in a fluid layer that the disc sits on. Depending on the patterning of the disc, the device, which is the size of a USB flash drive, can be used for capillary valving, mixing and particle concentration. The small size and mass production methods used make the new device an inexpensive alternative to the lab-on-a-CD that can be used in the field.