What Is Microfluidics
Microfluidics involves almost all fields of engineering and science. Its description is to define the microfluidic device by its micron-scale feature size. Its characteristic size may range from a few microns to a millimeter, but the fluid processed therein ranges from nanoliters to milliliters.
Microfluidic flow only needs to be limited by the geometric length scale, and the method used to achieve this geometric constraint is highly dependent on the target application. Each of these methods has its mature associated technology to maintain a steady fluid flow.
Continuous flow microfluidics - The steady-state liquid flow through narrow channels or porous media is mainly controlled by accelerating or obstructing the fluid flow in the capillary element. Continuous flow devices are suitable for many well-defined simple biochemical applications, such as chemical separations.
Droplet-based microfluidics - The droplet-based microfluidics technology processes discrete volumes of fluid in an immiscible phase with low Reynolds number and laminar flow. The droplets can conveniently handle small volumes of liquid, provide better mixing, encapsulation, sorting and sensing, and are suitable for high-throughput experiments.
Digital microfluidics - This technology has a novel open structure, using electrowetting to manipulate discrete, independently controllable droplets on the substrate, similar to digital microelectronics. Digital microfluidic technology provides a flexible and scalable system architecture and high fault tolerance. Besides, each droplet can be controlled independently.
Paper-based microfluidics - This technology relies on the phenomenon of capillary penetration in porous media. Such device usually has a hydrophobic barrier on the hydrophilic paper, which can passively transport the aqueous solution to the outlet where the biological reaction occurs. Current applications include portable glucose testing and environmental testing.
Application of Microfluidic Technology
Microfluidic technology has opened new doors for experimental science and engineering. The wide application of microfluidics is due to the fact that almost all benchtop routine experiments can be miniaturized into a microfluidic-based testing laboratory on a chip. For example, in the oil and gas industry, microfluidic chip technology is used to study the behavior of crude oil and brine through porous media. Biology is the biggest beneficiary of microfluidic technology: from gene sequencing to gene delivery, from antibody research to antigen detection, from drug research to drug delivery, and more.
Here, Alfa Chemistry uses simple language to describe the relevant information of microfluidics, including meaning, manufacturing and application.
The History of Microfluidics
The history of microfluidics can be traced back to the manufacturing of inkjet printers in the 1950s. These printers are based on microfluidic technology and involve printing using very small ink-filled tubes. In 1970, a miniaturized gas chromatograph was realized on a silicon wafer. In 1980, the first batch of micro valves and micro pumps based on silicon micromachining appeared. All the above examples represent microfluidic systems.
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Overview of Microfluidics
Microfluidics is a method for studying and processing sub-millimeter fluid flow in a network of channels. Microfluidic technology is everywhere. Using appropriate tools to control the pressure and flow in the microfluidic channel can obtain the mechanics and possibilities provided by microfluidics.
In this section, we will describe microfluidics from concepts, advantages, and various application areas.Read More >>
A microfluidic chip is a set of microchannels etched or molded into a material. The microchannel network is connected to the outside through the input and output of the entire chip, as an interface between the macro and the micro world. The microchannel network must be precisely designed to achieve the required functions, such as lab-on-a-chip, pathogen detection, DNA analysis, etc.
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How to Choose A Microfluidic Chip
Microfluidic chips are devices used for microfluidic research, in which microchannels have been molded or patterned. The microchannels forming the microfluidic chip are connected together to allow fluid to flow through different channels from one place to another.
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The lab-on-a-chip is a microfluidic micro-device that can integrate a variety of chemical and biological analysis functions on a single small chip and handle very small amounts of liquid. Its research focuses on several applications, including DNA analysis, human diagnosis and a smaller range of chemical synthesis.
In this section, you will get all the information about lab-on-a-chip.Read More >>
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