Nanofibers for Probing Hazardous Liquids (2012-024)

Market Overview:

These porous nanofibers are designed to collect extremely small volumes of liquid for analysis, featuring materials that control liquid uptake by a butterfly-type proboscis. The global nanofibers market had an estimated worth of $390.6 million, and is expected to grow at over a 25% CAGR between 2016 and 2024 due to the ever-expanding application space. Sampling of hazardous chemicals or liquids at the cellular level presents a challenge for both safety and sensing capabilities. The ability to deploy, detect, sample, and identify low-volume fluids in a single microfluidics device could be a promising technology with many engineering applications. Clemson University researchers have developed a method of creating nanofibers with the critical materials features of a butterfly proboscis, incorporating the desired aspects to detect and collect potentially hazardous low-volume liquids in a safe manner.

Application                                                            Stage of Development

Low-volume liquid collection/detection,               Preliminary Prototype

Extracting biofluids        



•   Nanofibers possess ordered bands, allowing for proboscis-like fluid transport

•   Porosity of the probes is adjustable, providing control over how much liquid can be absorbed and

     the rate of liquid uptake and wicking

•   Nanofiber probes can be made ferroelectric or magnetic, enabling remote manipulation to absorb droplets


Technical Summary

The artificial proboscis is fabricated using a library of  electrospun polymer fibers. By controlling the time of electrospinning and revolution rate during the twisting of the f ibers into yarn, biomimetic transport and mechanical  properties comparable to a butterfly proboscis can be  obtained. By varying the chemical composition of polymer blends and environmental conditions during electrospinning, a porosity as high as 82% can be achieved. The absorption rate of the probes is significantly i ncreased by designing the probes to have double porosity composed of both micrometer- and nanometer pores. Depending on the application, the probe can be made ferroelectric or magnetic for remote manipulation to collect droplets. Remote bending of the probes is affected by the absorbed material, allowing the probes to act as 
identifiers/sensors themselves. 

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Inventors:                        Dr. Konstantin Kornev

Patent Type:                    Provisional

Serial Number:              13/611,971

CURF Ref No:                2012-024

Patent Information:
Advanced Materials
For Information, Contact:
Andy Bluvas
Technology Commercialization Officer
Clemson University Research Foundation
Konstantin Kornev
Chen-Chih Tsai
David Lukas
Petr Mikes
Textiles/Fibers - Non-Optical/Medical/Other
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