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The chip’s traps are size specific, which means even tiny concentrations of viruses or other particles won’t escape detection. For medicine, this development is promising for future lab diagnostics that could detect viruses before symptoms kick in and damage begins, well ahead of when traditional lab tests are able to catch them.
Aaron Hawkins, the BYU professor leading the work, says his team is now gearing up to make chips with multiple, progressively smaller slots, so that a single sample can be used to screen for particles of varying sizes. One could fairly simply determine which proteins or viruses are present based on which walls have particles stacked against them.
After this is developed, Hawkins says, "If we decided to make these things in high volume, I think within a year it could be ready.""
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