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On-chip polarimetry for high-throughput screening of nanoliter and smaller sample volumes

Image Number 5 for United States Patent #8134707.

A polarimetry technique for measuring optical activity that is particularly suited for high throughput screening employs a chip or substrate (22) having one or more microfluidic channels (26) formed therein. A polarized laser beam (14) is directed onto optically active samples that are disposed in the channels. The incident laser beam interacts with the optically active molecules in the sample, which slightly alter the polarization of the laser beam as it passes multiple times through the sample. Interference fringe patterns (28) are generated by the interaction of the laser beam with the sample and the channel walls. A photodetector (34) is positioned to receive the interference fringe patterns and generate an output signal that is input to a computer or other analyzer (38) for analyzing the signal and determining the rotation of plane polarized light by optically active material in the channel from polarization rotation calculations.

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