An electrical current coursing through electrodes used in some labs on a chip can damage the blood cells being examined, which can result in compromised test results. Engineers at Michigan Technological University are using a 50-nanometer layer of hafnium oxide to shield a chip's electrodes, taking advantage of the material's high dielectric constant that allows the electric field to reach the blood cells even as a physical barrier protects them from the electrodes.
Hafnium oxide key to potential lab-on-a-chip solution
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