Jan 10, 2017
NEW YORK (360Dx) – Inspired by a children's toy, researchers at Stanford University have developed what may be the world's fastest non-motorized centrifuge.
Called a "paperfuge," the device is capable of separating plasma from whole blood and purifying malaria parasites from blood samples, and could potentially be used for rapid, inexpensive diagnostics.
As described in a paper published Tuesday in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the paper-based device costs $.20 to make. The paperfuge can achieve maximum speeds of 125,000 RPM for an equivalent centrifugal force of 30,000 g, approximately the maximum force of a standard benchtop microcentrifuge used for small tubes of sample.
Researcher Manu Prakash and co-authors took inspiration from a children's toy called a whirligig. This toy, examples of which date to 3,000 B.C., consists of a small wheel in the middle of a length of coiled string attached to handles. Stretching the string causes the string to unwind and the toy rotates. Releasing the string causes it to coil up again and the toy to spin in the opposite direction.