Microfluidics: A general overview of microfluidics via Elveflow
23 February 2023
A microfluidic chip is a pattern of microchannels, molded or engraved. This network of microchannels incorporated into the microfluidic chip is linked to the macro-environment by several holes of different dimensions hollowed out through the chip. It is through these pathways that fluids are injected into and evacuated from the microfluidic chip. Fluids are directed, mixed, separated or manipulated to attain multiplexing, automation, and high-throughput systems. The microchannels network design must be precisely elaborated to achieve the desired features (lab-on-a-chip, detection of pathogens, electrophoresis, DNA analysis etc.).
To accurately manage fluids inside the microchannels, specific systems are required. These elements can either be found embedded inside the microfluidic chip, such as Quake valves, or outside of it, like in the case of pressure controllers.
Advantages of microfluidics
Microfluidic devices exploit the physical and chemical properties of liquids and gases at a microscale. Microfluidic devices offer several benefits over conventionally sized systems. Microfluidics allow the analysis and use of less volume of samples, chemicals and reagents reducing the global fees of applications. Many operations can be executed at the same time thanks to their compact size, shortening the time of experiment. They also offer an excellent data quality and substantial parameter control which allows process automation while preserving the performances. They have the capacity to both process and analyze samples with minor sample handling. The microfluidic chip is elaborated so that the incorporated automation allows the user to generate multi-step reactions requiring a low level of expertise and a lot of functionalities. The microsystems execute functions that extend from detecting toxins to analyzing DNA sequences or creating inkjet printing devices. To learn more about microfluidics applications, visit our dedicated review here.