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Dolomite joins forces with LioniX
ROYSTON, U.K.— An offshoot of the Syrris group of companies, microfluidics specialist Dolomite Microfluidics was established when it won a $6 million prize awarded by the U.K. government in a "micro/nano contest," says Mark Gilligan, Syrris' executive chairman, in announcing its collaboration with LioniX BV, a company that specializes in applications for integrated optics and microfluidics incorporating a wide range of surface functionality and IO sensing systems.
Dolomite and LioniX will jointly focus on designing, developing and fabricating microfluidic devices and systems to expand the range of customized solutions offered to their clients.
The agreement between the two companies establishes four core areas of collaboration: LioniX will become a distributor for Dolomite's standard products, including microfluidic chips, pumps, connectors, valves and accessories; LioniX will adopt Dolomite's Multiflux standard in future chip designs, allowing them to be used with Dolomite's connectors and interfaces to provide customers with a flexible, cost-effective and time-efficient solution for reliable multiway fluidic connections; the companies will combine their expertise in microfluidics and microfabrication to offer customers a wide range of innovative processes, such as deep reactive-ion etching (DRIE) of fused silica down to an etch depth of 50µm, plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) depositions of silicon oxides and silicon nitrides, as well as the integration of metal electrodes and insulators, which can be incorporated into customized microfluidic chips and devices; and, finally, customers will have access to standard products developed by LioniX via Dolomite's microfluidic web shop.
Fluidic systems for manipulation, analysis and control of small amounts of materials are becoming increasingly sophisticated. In addition, there is an increasing trend for these kinds of systems to be designed at smaller and smaller scales into the microfluidic domain. At present, most fluidic connectors only allow the connection of one fluid tube at a time. Furthermore, connecting microfluidic devices to macro-scale systems presents many challenges. If these are not addressed, the benefits of working within the microfluidic environment may be compromised through time-consuming assembly and leak testing. Multiflux is Dolomite's solution for anyone working in microfluidics. This new range of multi-way microfluidic connectors and interfaces enables the fast, easy and cost-efficient interconnection between a range of fluidic systems and/or bundles of tubing.
The Dolomite Centre Ltd. was established in 2005—based on a high level of confidence that the company would be awarded the $6 million prize, Gilligan notes—as the world's first microfluidic application center, focused on working with customers to turn their concepts for microfluidic applications into reality. With offices in England and the United States, and distributors throughout the rest of the world, its clients range from universities developing leading-edge analytical equipment to manufacturers of chemical, life-science and clinical diagnostics systems. With about 70 percent of its customers in life science, including drug discovery, diagnostics and "everything in between," Gilligan says, Dolomite is pioneering the use of microfluidic devices for small-scale fluid control and analysis, enabling scientists and engineers to develop more compact, cost-effective and powerful instruments.
"We focus on developing 10 times, or even 100 times, more information from the same experiment," he says, noting that the problem needs to be complicated because a Dolomite solution is seldom the cheapest way to go. In clinical testing, the goal is to bring testing closer—next to the bed, he says—and to produce results much more quickly. Dolomite has successfully developed a system for the encapsulation of single cells or beads into droplets, which benefits a wide range of applications including single-cell analysis, high-throughput screening and droplet PCR. The new system provides users with the tools required to perform assays on individual cells in picoliter volumes.
"We are very excited about the partnership agreement with Dolomite," says Hans van den Vlekkert, CEO of LioniX. "This new strategic collaboration will not only give both partners access to each other's world leading technologies, but also enable us to extend our services we deliver to our clients, especially in the field of microfluidics."
LioniX specializes in applications of integrated optics, microfluidics and optofluidics including surface functionality. The company offers small-volume manufacturing, second sourcing as well as transfer to medium- and high-volume manufacturing.