The integration of microfluidics with advanced biosensor technologies offers tremendous advantages such as smaller sample volume requirement and precise handling of samples and reagents, for developing affordable point-of-care testing methodologies that could be used in hospitals for monitoring patients. However, the success and popularity of point-of-care diagnosis lies with the generation of instantaneous and reliable results through in situ tests conducted in a painless, non-invasive manner. This work presents the development of a simple, hybrid integrated optical microfluidic biosensor for rapid detection of analytes in test samples. The proposed biosensor works on the principle of colorimetric optical absorption, wherein samples mixed with suitable chromogenic substrates induce a color change dependent upon the analyte concentration that could then be detected by the absorbance of light in its path length. This optical detection scheme has been hybrid integrated with an acoustofluidic micromixing unit to enable uniform mixing of fluids within the device. As a proof-of-concept, we have demonstrated the real-time application of our biosensor format for the detection of potassium in whole saliva samples. The results show that our lab-on-a-chip technology could provide a useful strategy in biomedical diagnoses for rapid analyte detection towards clinical point-of-care testing applications.
Keywords: acoustofluidics; biosensor; cavitation; colorimetry; hybrid integration; microfluidics; micromixing; optical absorbance; point-of-care; salivary potassium.