• Mike Adelstein
  • July 14, 2021

Delivering Parts at the Speed of Light for Protein Analysis Research at Arizona State University

Delivering Parts at the Speed of Light for Protein Analysis Research at Arizona State University

Small holes in glass.

The old days of university research labs having all the time in the world to complete experiments are gone. Like for everything else in the 21st century, time is of the essence for university researchers to compete in the latest grant rounds or to fulfill requirements for corporate partners. Speed is the name of the game in developing prototypes, new protocols, and innovative processes.

It is Potomac’s ability to save time that brought the Biodesign Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors at Arizona State University’s (ASU) Biodesign Institute to us for laser micro-machining. Graduate Research Assistant Xinyu Zhou explains: “We tried to dig holes in our devices’ cover slips and had so much cracking of the glass, the time we wasted re-doing work was substantial.  Potomac saved us valuable time to meet our commitments!”

As described in the group’s Nature article, identification of proteins is key to biotech research.  Proteins can lead to disease diagnosis as well as vaccine development, important tools in a rapidly evolving field.

Laser processing of small features in glasswork coverslips

The ASU device needed 2 holes that were 1 mm in diameter and 0.17 mm deep.  In addition, the holes had to be placed with +/- 0.5 mm accuracy to ensure the bonding of multiple layers enabled the process to work.  Often it is placement accuracy that determines the success of a device.

Xinyu Zhou was particularly impressed by Potomac’s ability to laser micromachine in glass without cracking.  Glass is a hard and brittle solid with almost no internal crystalline structure.   So, in addition to using lasers in the ultraviolet region of the electro-magnetic spectrum, Potomac has developed unique methods to avoid heat build-up in the process.  The result is a clean cut with no cracking.

Glass is an important substrate in many biotech applications.  In recent years, more polymers such as COC exhibit the transparent qualities of glass and are far easier – read: cheaper – to machine.

Potomac’s ability to machine glass without cracking, accurately place small features, and deliver parts quickly ensured that the ASU research team could move at 21st century speeds.


Other Posts

Microneedles for vaccine delivery

Microneedle-based drug delivery has the potential to be a transformative technology for the delivery of biologics and vaccines. It may provide enhanced therapeutic profiles for therapeutics and vaccines. It allows for the administration of lower levels of drugs to achieve the same therapeutic endpoints. Additionally, microneedles provide an alternative to traditional hypodermic needles. This industry provides…

  • Mike Adelstein
  • March 23, 2021

Potomac Automates Quality Control Inspection via In-house Innovative Software Development

Today, speed is the name of the game.  But speed without accuracy in all its forms defeats the purpose of fast delivery.  At Potomac, we provide some of the quickest turnaround in manufacturing for medical device, microfluidic, biotech, consumer product and microelectronics customers also with the highest level of quality. Meeting customer specifications is especially…

  • Potomac Photonics
  • February 8, 2021

Microfluidic Concentration Gradient Generators – Potomac Photonics

Joe La Fiandra University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) Major: Bioengineering Minor: Global Engineering Leadership   Microfluidic Concentration Gradient Generators Many biochemical processes in biological organisms are controlled by concentration gradients. From cell migration to drug proliferation, concentration gradients are integral to the transportation of a vast array of substances throughout the body. Until recently,…

  • Potomac Photonics
  • January 26, 2021