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061114-01 - "Biomimetic Device for Drug Development" - Faculty: Yaling Liu

This technology is a rare cell capture microfluidic platform with a 3D hierarchically structured substrate that allows for the capture of CTCs from whold blood with high efficiency, selectivity and throughput.  The proposed microfluidic device consists of a substrate surface and a cover, which combined, form a flow channel.  This channel has inlet and outlet reservoirs through which whold blood passes.  The rotational flow induced by the repetitive wave-herringbone structures enhances the capture efficiency of CTCs while all other cells flow through in a streamlined fashion reaching the outlet reservoir. 

This is an optimal microfluidic device design for the use of capturing live CTCs and is one with multi-scale structures that match both the cell dimensions and membrane extrusions of CTCs.  There are several advantages of this technology, over existing methods, to capture CTCs which include the following:

  • It allows easy fabrications without access to the cleanroom, as opposed to traditional fabrication processes which need soft-photolithography to make the mold in the cleanroom.

  • It can achieve a higher throughput due to the large surface area of the device, which can reduce the time for the blood test.

  • It can capture CTCs without compromising the cells' natural morphology due to the smooth sinusoidal curve patterning, which forces the cells to roll over the curve and reach the trough.  Thus, cell imaging after the flow test simply requires clinicians/researchers to scan the tough regions to gain information about the captured CTCs.

051217-01 - "OCT Imaging Technology" - Faculty: Chao Zhou

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging technology used for performing high-resolution cross-sectional imaging.  OCT utilizes infrared light (in the range of approximately 800 to 1300 mm).  The image produced from OCT is constructed by measuring the echo time delay and wavelength of light backscattered or back-reflected from the material being imaged.  The resolution of OCT is significantly higher than ultrasound technology.  

Researchers at Lehigh University have developed an enhancement to OCT that can achieve significant improvement of imaging speed without losing image sensitivity.  The approach utilizes space-division multiplexing technology that translates the long coherence length of a commercially available tunable laser into high OCT imaging speed.  The achievement of an effective 800,000 A-scans/s imaging speed using a commercially available 100,000 Hz tunable VCSEL light source and a single detection channel has been demonstrated in research studies.  

The core element of the approach is splitting the imaging beam to illuminate multiple physical locations of the material being imaged simultaneously.  Each beam that is split is optically delatyed so that when images are formed, signal from different physical locations is detected in different frequency bands of the detection system.  This enables parallel detection of signals from multiple imaging points leading to significantly improved imaging speed.

111116-01 - "Single Crystal Glass" - Faculty: Himanshu Jain

The invention introduces a method for fabricating ferroelectric crystal lines for use as low loss optical waveguides with additional active functionality compared to amorphous/glass waveguides it provides low losses by confining the light signal tightly in the crystal core, away from the rough crystal-glass interface that is often responsible for losses in such a system.  These ne types of waveguides consisting of active crystals, such as lithium niobate, in glass, can be fabricated in complex architecture, suitable for realizing integrated optical elements within the glass substrate at low cost GRISC waveguides have much lower losses than other competing options.  

The GRISC in glass is created through control of the temperature distribution induced by femtosecond laster heating.  Within the glass, the femtosecond laser induced temperature profile allows for crystallization upon heating, ahead of the laser focus.  The refractive index contrast generated using this method leads to tight optical confinement of the transmitted light in a Gaussian profile.  Such a profile results in most of intensity in the center where losses are low, and very low intensity near the crystal-glass interface where losses tend to be high. 

102513-01 - "Biomedically Superior Bioactive Glasses with Engineered Nanostructure" - Faculty: Himanshu Jain

This invention describes an engineered nanostructure and method for bioactive glasses used for bone scaffolds and other biomedical applications.  The inventors have developed and patented a melt-quench-heat-etch (MQHE) method that is closely related to standard glass production technology.  More recently, the inventors have discovered that in addition the specific glass composition, the nanostructure can greatly influence the biomedical performance.  Specifically, they have demonstrated superior in vitro performance of widely used 45S5 glass with an interconnected spinodally phase-separated nanostructure than with isolated droplets in a matrix (cells respond more favorably to the morphology and composition with the superior nanostructure).  This concept can be extended to other bioactive silicate glass compositions that are prone to phase separation (e.g., derivatives of 45S5 doped with certain oxides or different ratios of its constituents).  Also, the nanostructure can be further manipulated by controlling the melt cooling process (melt temperature, mold temperature, casting procedure, batch size, heat treatment, etc.).

050317-01 - "Urea-Inorganic Salt Co-crystals for Fertilizer" - Faculty: Jonas Baltrusaitis

This invention describes a process of preparing calcium and magnesium salt - urea compounds using a solution free route.  Urea is a large volume nitrogen containing fertilizer but suffers from the propensity to hydrolyze in soil thus resulting in nitrogen losses to environment.  Encapsulating urea in a crystalline compound together with inorganic acids, such as H3P04 and H2S04 has been shown to significantyly decrease urea losses to the environment.  Reports have shown that a molecular adduct of urea and phosphoric or nitric acid result in only a 0.7% nitrogen loss as ammonia as opposed to up to 61.1% of soil treated with urea only, suggesting major improvements in sustainable management of the global nitrogen cycle.  Additionally, urea molecular adducts with inorganic Mg and Ca salts also contain other primary and secondary nutrients, such as P, Ca, Mg and S, necessary for a balanced nitrogen uptake.