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CBS Detroit reports WSU researcher awarded NSF grants to support work on microfluidic technologies

February 20, 2013

Two National Science Foundation grants to a Wayne State University researcher could amount to far more than a drop in the bucket when it comes to handling liquids for biological screening. Amar Basu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering at WSU's College of Engineering, received the grants to support his work on microfluidic technologies. The grants, which total $636,000, will help scientists rapidly conduct thousands of chemical, genetic and pharmacological tests through a process called high-throughput screening. The first project, supported by a $335,000 grant through the NSF's Electronics, Photonics and Magnetic Devices program, will investigate what Basu calls a novel approach for controlling the motion of droplets using lasers. Titled "Optofluidic Tweezers," the project focuses on a technique that can generate forces 100,000 times larger than traditional optical tweezers. The technology, recently patented by Wayne State's Technology Commercialization Office, enables novel applications in microscale liquid control, particle manipulation and light-directed assembly.