Microosmometer for the Study of a Wide Range of Biological, Macromolecular, Polymeric, Gel, or Other Samples

Scientists at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have discovered a new microosmometer that allows for the quantification of minor changes in the swelling properties of different materials (including tissue specimens) using microgram amounts of sample. Varying the vapor pressure in the environmental chamber of the device induces controlled changes in the osmotic pressure of the specimen on the surface of a flat quartz crystal microbalance. Variation in the swelling degree is measured with high sensitivity and reliability by monitoring the change in resonance frequency of the quartz crystal oscillator. The device requires less than one microgram of sample, and possesses an extremely fast response time. The device is well-suited to the study of a wide range of biological, macromolecular, polymeric, gel, or other samples.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Measuring hydration characteristics in tissue and other samples
  • Measuring hydration isotherms in micro-gram quantities of samples
  • Wide areas of application in material science, polymer science, processing, food packaging, adhesives, paint manufacture, etc.
  • Requirement of 1 microgram allows probing local osmotic properties of small samples
  • Rapid equilibration permits fast sample analysis
  • Non-destructive evaluation possible¬†

Development Stage:


Ferenc Horkay

Peter Basser

Adam Berman

Intellectual Property:

Horkay F, et al. Osmotic investigations on cartilage biopolymers and tissue engineered cartilage samples using a new tissue microosmometer.   PMCID PMC1913834
Horkay F, et al. Measurement of the osmotic properties of thin polymer films and biological tissue samples.   PMID 15762669

Collaboration Opportunity:

Licensing and research collaboration

Licensing Contact:
John Hewes, Ph.D.
Email: John.Hewes@nih.gov
Phone: 240-276-5515

OTT Reference No: E-280-2002
Updated: Jul 9, 2018