California Institute of Technology has been awarded US Patent 7,378,280, “Apparatus and methods for conducting assays and high-throughput screening.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Stephen Quake, Marc Unger, Hou-Pu Chou, Todd Thorsen, and Axel Scherer.
The patent provides microfluidic devices and methods for using them, according to its abstract. The devices include elastomeric components and comprise a main flow channel, branch flow channels, control channels, and valves. Each of the valves should comprise one of the control channels and an elastomeric segment that is deflectable into or retractable from the main or branch flow channel, and the valve should open and close the main or branch flow channel in response to an actuation force applied to the control channel.