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Correction: Tiny Pumps for Diagnostic Chips

Corrected version of article posted.
November 17, 2006

The original version of the article “Tiny Pumps for Diagnostic Chips” stated that Martin Bazant, a professor of applied mathematics at MIT, and his colleagues at MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies “designed a new approach to capillary electro-osmosis.” Actually, this is an old method using DC fields. Bazant and his colleagues have been exploring the new method of AC electro-osmosis (ACEO), his design proving much faster than previous ACEO pumps.

Additionally, the article, written by Jennifer Chu, stated that “the team was only able to pump de-ionized water.” In fact, the lab’s design successfully pumped a variety of fluids, including dilute blood and a number of diluted buffer solutions, as well as de-ionized water. The problem with pumping undiluted blood is not an issue of viscosity, as originally mentioned, but of ion concentration, which Bazant’s group is now working to understand.

Finally, the article explained the pumping system as “ascending steps,” whereas the design is a flat substrate with raised steps on each electrode which lead to very fast pumping via electric fields that pull fluids through the chip.

The corrected version of the article can be found here.

The author regrets the errors made in the original article and apologizes to the researchers and to Technology Review’s readers for the above-stated misrepresentations.

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