Nowadays, the attainment of microsystems that integrate most of the stages involved in an analytical process has raised an enormous interest in several research fields. This approach provides experimental set-ups of increased robustness and reliability, which simplify their application to in-line and continuous biomedical and environmental monitoring. In this work, a novel, compact and autonomous microanalyzer aimed at multiwavelength colorimetric determinations is presented. It integrates the microfluidics (a three-dimensional mixer and a 25 mm length "Z-shape" optical flow-cell), a highly versatile multiwavelength optical detection system and the associated electronics for signal processing and drive, all in the same device. The flexibility provided by its design allows the microanalyzer to be operated either in single fixed mode to provide a dedicated photometer or in multiple wavelength mode to obtain discrete pseudospectra. To increase its reliability, automate its operation and allow it to work under unattended conditions, a multicommutation sub-system was developed and integrated with the experimental set-up. The device was initially evaluated in the absence of chemical reactions using four acidochromic dyes and later applied to determine some key environmental parameters such as phenol index, chromium(vi) and nitrite ions. Results were comparable with those obtained with commercial instrumentation and allowed to demonstrate the versatility of the proposed microanalyzer as an autonomous and portable device able to be applied to other analytical methodologies based on colorimetric determinations. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
|Journal||Lab on a Chip|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jan 2012|