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People being treated for HIV need to periodically test to determine if their antiviral medication is effectively keeping their viral loads at a safe level. Individuals living in rural areas of developing countries would be more likely to get these viral load tests if an instrument existed which reduced costs and was small and rugged enough to be brought to the client rather than require the client to travel for hours to a clinic. The Diagnostics for Viral Disease team is developing such a device in cooperation with Dr. Edgar Simulundu and the Macha Research Trust in Zambia. Our design is based on advanced fluorescence spectroscopy utilizing a fluorescence protein probe, confocal optics, and low-cost, low-power electronics.

This poster reviews work done in three subsystems of the overall instrument. First, we have optimized the program used during burst analysis spectroscopy for identification of individual viruses in dilute samples. Second, we have confirmed the operation of the amplifying and discriminating sections of the photon processing circuitry which converts light pulses into a digital signal ready to be processed in the signal analysis subsystem. Finally, we have completed the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and Raspberry Pi programming allowing successful transfer of the results of the signal processing in the FPGA to the Raspberry Pi for display to the end user. Going forward we will integrate these subsystems into a fully functional exploded prototype ready for the final stage of condensing the design into a portable prototype that can be tested and delivered to our client.

Funding for this work provided by The Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research.

Publication Date

Spring 2022


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The work presented in this document has been provided solely for educational and edification purposes. All materials are composed by students of Messiah University and are not certified by any means. They do not constitute professional consultation and require the examination and evaluation by a certified engineer through any product development process. The contents documented are the produced work by the student design team but do not necessarily represent the as-built or as-assembled state of a complete and tested design; faculty, staff, and other professionals involved in our program may have augmented the student engineering work during implementation, which may not be recorded within this document.

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A Low Cost, Portable Fluorescence Correlation Spectrometer for Disease Diagnosis

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