Micro Microwave

What is thought to be the world’s smallest microwave oven has been demonstrated by researchers at the US National Institue of Standards of Technology and George Mason University


What is thought to be the world’s smallest microwave oven has been demonstrated by researchers at the US National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST) and George Mason University.



The oven, which is capable of heating a pinhead-sized drop of liquid inside a container slightly shorter than an ant (4mm) and half as wide as a single hair, is intended for lab-on-a-chip devices.



The researchers successfully integrated the device with a microfludic channel to control selectively and precisely the temperature of fluid volumes ranging from a few microlitres to sub-nanolitres. This could be used in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) processes, which are often used for the diagnosis of infectious diseases.



The team embedded a thin-film microwave transmission line between a glass substrate and a polymer block to create the micro microwave oven. A trapezoidal-shaped cut in the polymer block serves as the chamber of the fluid to be heated.



When the technology is developed the researchers hope it can be used for a wide variety of applications.