A research team at the University of California, Riverside has found a novel usage for a simple part of glass tubing, i.e., weighing things. The glass tube sensor can assist in boosting up the chemical toxicity tests, create new biomaterials, elucidate plant growth, among other several applications. Even though the weight is a significant and fundamental measure of an entity, it is not possible to weigh small biological samples with conventional scales in their native liquid environments.
In order to alter this, Mesbah Oskui designed a sensor consisting of a tiny section of glass tubing curved into a “U” shape and affixed to a low-cost speaker. The glass is vibrated by the speaker at its resonance frequency. The resonance frequency is altered when a sample is pushed into the tube, thus permitting the density, volume, and mass of the sample to be evaluated. The research extends a methodology that was originally invented for weighing single cells at MIT. By making this technique available to bigger samples, the study has immensely increased its applications.
To validate the potential, the team chooses an important research field, i.e., toxicology. At present, several chemicals are yet to be assessed for the risk they pose to the environment and human health. This is mostly because the toxicological tests conducted on conventional animals are time-requiring, labor-intensive, and costly. Even though the implementation of test with the use of small, rapidly growing embryos of zebrafish is pacing thing up, but still, it has not been possible for researchers to weigh the embryos in their inhabitant fluid surroundings.
The team demonstrated of using the sensors to evaluate the mass changes in the embryos of the zebrafish as they responded to the toxic silver nanoparticles. The team also illustrated of utilizing the sensor to assess the density alterations in the seed that are undergoing germination & rehydration, and further also the rate of degradation of biomaterials utilized in medical implants. The team believes that the portability, low cost, and automation of the methodology makes the sensor an appropriate choice for applications in the resource-limited settings.
Where else do you think this sensor can be used?