A novel method for exchanging solutions used in biochemical analyses and a device to carry out the exchange are proposed. An array of plugs formed using six injectors was transported in a microflow channel using a main pump located at one end of the main flow channel. The injectors and main pump were operated on the basis of the change in volume caused by the electrolysis of water. Bubbles were produced from working electrodes; these bubbles caused a diaphragm placed below the injectors to inflate and occlude the inlet of the solution reservoir. Increase in the number of bubbles caused the reservoir to inject the solution into the main flow channel in the form of a plug. Each plug was individually transported downstream to the sensing area by the main pump, which was operated in a similar manner to the injector. The device was used for the detection of a tumor marker, α-fetoprotein (AFP). Plugs of necessary solutions were individually transported to the sensing area with immobilized primary antibodies to allow antigen-antibody binding, cleaning, and detection. The fluorescence intensity from the antibodies showed clear dependence on the concentration of AFP. The immobilization of antibodies could also be carried out on-chip.
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