The objective of this study is to develop a portable hand held diagnostics platform for monitoring pollutants and water quality testing. We are developing a lab-on-chip (LOC) device for in-situ synthesis of gold nano-particles and for using a colorimetric peptide assay for water quality monitoring. The gold nano-particles are synthesized in-situ in our experiments. The gold nano-particles exhibit various optical properties due to their Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR). These stabilized mono-disperse gold nano-particles are coated with bio-molecular recognition motifs on their surfaces. The stabilization and functionalization with bio-molecular recognition motif provides flexibility for various applications. For example, the gold nano-particles synthesized by this process are tested for their ability to be recognized by a surface coated with anti-Flg antibodies. The LOC consists of micro-wells housing different reagents and samples that feed to a common reaction chamber. The reaction products are delivered to several waste chambers in a pre-defined sequence to enable subsequent reagents/ samples to flow into the reaction chamber. Passive flow actuation is obtained by capillary driven flow (wicking). Dissolvable micro-structures are used as passive micro-valves that actuate at predefined intervals and do not require any external power source for actuation. The microfluidic chip (LOC) and the dissolvable microstructures are fabricated using soft lithography techniques. The passive valves are incorporated into the microfluidics platform by novel micro-fabrication and bonding techniques.

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