Imagine a doctor’s office, with multiple rooms for COVID19 testing, so small that it could fit on a postage stamp. Researchers from the CLS and Université Laval are trying to create a device that would work similarly to this. Tyler Morhart, a CLS Associate Scientist, is using our SyLMAND beamline to develop a device with multiple narrow channels through which a small fluid sample from a patient could flow. Meanwhile, Jesse Greener, Laval professor and MidIR beam team member, is creating an accessory that could systematically run various tests through the channels to determine if the patient has coronavirus. If successful, this project could improve Canada’s testing and contact tracing performance. However, using human hands and an ultraviolet laser system to carve channels that are only a few hundred microns wide is not easy. “It’s miniscule!” Morhart said. It is so small that a human hair could overfill one channel. “This builds on previous work in SyLMAND, and it is exciting to apply it to a real problem,” he added. Morhart has already shipped an early-stage prototype of the device to his collaborators in Laval and will continue to make refinements and more devices over the next few months. “I come from a family of nurses and I’m the only member of my family who is not in healthcare. So, it is really rewarding to say that, in some small way, I am trying to make a difference,” he said.
Researchers from the CLS and Université Laval are trying to create a device that would make healthcare testing more efficient