Microfluid chip


Microfluidics is a multidisciplinary field intersecting engineering, physics, chemistry, nanotechnology and biotechnology, with practical applications to the design of systems in which small volumes of fluids will be handled. Microfluidics emerged in the beginning of the 1980s and is used in the development of inkjet printheads, DNA chips, lab-on-a-chip technology, micro-propulsion, and micro-thermal technologies. It deals with the behavior, precise control and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small, typically sub-millimeter, scale. Typically, micro means one of the following features:
  • small volumes (µL, nL, pL, fL)
  • small size
  • low energy consumption
  • effects of the micro domain

A microfluidic chip is a set of micro-channels etched or molded into a material (glass, silicon or polymer such as PDMS). The micro-channels forming the microfluidic chip are connected together so as to achieve a desired function (mix, pump, redirect and/or allow chemical reactions in a cell).
external image 220px-Labonachip20017-300.jpg

History

Microtechnology Invented in 1954 for the purposes of microelectric chips
60′s, space research, via the Apollo program with a budget of $ 25 billion, gave an opportunity to fund research programs on the miniaturization of computers to allow taking them to space and in particular on the moon.

80′s, the use of silicon etching procedures, developed for microelectronics industry, allowed the manufacture of the first devices containing movable micro-elements integrated on a silicon wafer.
90′s, many researchers investigated the applications of MEMS in biology, chemistry and biomedical fields. These applications needed to control the movement of liquids in micro-channels and have significantly contributed to the development of microfluidics.

2000's, technologies based on molding micro-channels in polymers such as PDMS (**P**oly**D**i**M**ethyl**S**iloxane) experienced strong growth. Reducing costs and production times of devices enabled a large number of laboratories to conduct researches in microfluidics.

Today, thousands of researchers are working in microfluidics to extend its application fields especially via on-chip laboratories for hospitals.


Applications

In medicine with the laboratories on a chip because they allow the integration of many medical tests on a single chip.-
In cell biology researches because the micro-channels have the same characteristic size as the cells and allow such manipulation of single cells and rapid change of drugs.
In protein crystallization because microfluidic devices allow the generation on a single chip of a large number of crystallization conditions (temperature, pH, humidity…) And also many other areas: drug screening, sugar testers, chemical microreactor, microprocessor cooling (just reward) or micro fuel cell

Web Resources


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microfluidics
http://www.elveflow.com/microfluidic-reviews-and-tutorials/microfluidics-and-microfluidic-devices-a-review