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Digital Microfluidics: A New Paradigm for Radiochemistry


The emerging technology of digital microfluidics is opening up the possibility of performing radiochemistry at the microliter scale to produce tracers for positron emission tomography (PET) labeled with fluorine-18 or other isotopes. Working at this volume scale not only reduces reagent costs but also improves specific activity (SA) by reducing contamination by the stable isotope. This technology could provide a practical means to routinely prepare high-SA tracers for applications such as neuroimaging and could make it possible to routinely achieve high SA using synthesis strategies such as isotopic exchange. Reagent droplets are controlled electronically, providing high reliability, a compact control system, and flexibility for diverse syntheses with a single-chip design. The compact size may enable the development of a self-shielded synthesizer that does not require a hot cell. This article reviews the progress of this technology and its application to the synthesis of PET tracers.

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