Micro-Calorimeter Fluid System
MIT BioInstrumentation Laboratory, Spring 2008

Undergraduate Research
Team Size: 3 people
Duration: 5 months

This was a project to design and fabricate a fluid handling system for a micro-calorimeter for future drug development. A potentially successful mixture of possible drug components will undergo a heat-emitting chemical reaction, and a calorimeter can be used to measure these changes in heat emission. While a heat measurement system for the calorimeter was developed as a separate project, our team created the system that injects the component fluids into the calorimeter. There are many challenges with microscale fluid injection - microliters of fluid evaporate quickly, and temperature differences between components during pre-injection will alter heat measurements.

Our team settled on a dual-tubed injection design, in which fluids are injected from each tube, one after the next. After this initial design stage, I developed the interface between the hardware - ie, the linear actuators controlling the fluid injections - and the software - ie, the GUI from which to control injection amounts and speeds. I also worked on developing a temperature control system for the injection system so that temperatures between the two injection tubes would remain constant and not affect calorimeter measurements.

Code, written in LabVIEW, to control expulsion of fluids from the injection tubes. An output screen is shown on the bottom right.