Microfluidics and Lab-on-a-chip (LOC)

Microfluidics is the science and technology of systems that process or manipulate small (10–9 to 10–18 litres) amounts of fluids, using channels with dimensions of tens to hundreds of micrometres [1].
The first applications of microfluidic technologies have been in analysis, for which they offer a number of useful capabilities: the ability to use very small quantities of samples and reagents, and to carry out separations and detections with high resolution and sensitivity; low cost; short times for analysis; and small footprints for the analytical devices. Microfluidics exploits both its most obvious characteristic, i.e. small size, and less obvious characteristics of fluids in microchannels, such as laminar flow. It offers fundamentally new capabilities in the control of concentrations of molecules in space and time. This explains why over the past two decades microfluidics has rapidly emerged as a distinct new, interdisciplinary field.
In our group, the activities in this area follow two main themes: i) microfabrication of fluidic chips and ii) flow characterization inside microchannels.

1. G. M. Whitesides, Nature 442, 368 (2006).
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