Microfluidics

Microfluidics, or lab-on-chip devices, are dealing with the precise control and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small, typically sub-millimeter scale. These devices integrate one or several functions into a single chip. Microfluidics is a broader term that also describes mechanical flow control devices, including pumps and valves as well as sensors such as flow meters and viscometers. In the case of micro total analysis systems (µTAS), an entire sequence of lab processes is integrated into a single chip that performs a full chemical analysis. The term "lab-on-a-chip" generally describes the scaling of single or multiple lab processes down to chip format.

Microfluidic and lab-on-chip technologies are used to revolutionize, for example, the immediate point-of-care diagnostic (POC) of diseases, molecular biology procedures for enzymatic analysis, DNA analysis and proteomics. The basic idea of these chips is to integrate operations such as detection, as well as sample pre-treatment and sample preparation into one chip. In addition, microfluidics-based devices should be capable of continuous sampling and real-time testing of air/water samples for biochemical toxins and other dangerous pathogens which can serve as an always-on "bio- alarm" for early-warning systems. The fabrication of disposable, polymer-based devices needed for lab-on-chip and microfluidic devices can be realized, at low cost, by hot embossing processes.

Hot embossing, or thermal nanoimprint lithography, is a nanoimprinting technique which uses elevated temperature and high pressure to transfer the structures from a template into a thermoplastic material. The high versatility of EV Group´s products, combined with our process development capabilities and own cleanroom facilities, enable the implementation and optimization of customized processes and products.

For customers interested in entering the lab-on-chip and microfluidics market, EV Group offers system configurations for R&D and production as well as implementation, process and materials know-how - providing customers with a total solution to meet their needs.

 


Image of micro-reactor. Courtesy of Micronit.