An automated biomechatronic submicroliter fluid handling system for processing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has been developed in the Genomation Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle. This first generation system, ACAPELLA-1K, can process 1000 samples in 8 h in preparation for DNA sequencing using sample volumes ten times smaller than current state-of-the art manual and automated instrumentation. The system is based upon a proof-of-concept system that was developed by the Genomation Laboratory and presented in the IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS in 1997. The ACAPELLA-1K is the first integration of modules for fluid aspiration, dispensing, mixing, transport, and thermal processing that have been designed and developed with corporate partners Orca Photonic Systems, Inc., Redmond, WA, and Engineering Arts, Mercer Island, WA. These modules, comprising piezoceramic actuators, pneumatic pumps, linear mechanisms, thermal controllers, optical sensors, electronics, computer control, and software, are described in detail. Processing statistics are presented and successful experimental results are presented. The Genomation Laboratory is presently developing the next-stage `ACAPELLA-5K' system based on the results of the ACAPELLA-1K system. This system will process 5000 samples in 8 h for use in molecular biology such as high-throughput DNA sequencing for the Human Genome Project, diagnostics, DNA fingerprinting, drug discovery, environmental testing, protein crystallography, and so on.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering