Microfluidics has been defined in terms of microliter volumes or micrometer dimensions of channels. Based on George Whitesides’ definition, microfluidics is the science and technology of systems that process or manipulate small (109 to 1018 liters) amounts of fluids, using channels with dimensions of tens to hundreds of micrometres. Microfluidic devices handle and manipulate fluids at length scales from 1 to 1,000 micrometres, with typical internal volumes of microlitres to picolitres.
The field of microfluidics is characterized by the study and manipulation of fluids at the submillimetre length scale. Microfluidics exploits both its most obvious characteristic-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. Certain properties of microfluidic technologies, such as rapid sample processing and the precise control of fluids in an assay, have made them attractive candidates to replace traditional experimental approaches.
According to the difference in manipulation modes of flow, microfluidics is categorized into two classes: continuous-flow microfluidics and digital (droplet-based) microfluidics. In continuous-flow microfluidics, liquid flow is continuously manipulated through microfabricated channels, whereas discrete and controllable droplets are manipulated in droplet-based microfluidics.
Since the advent of microfluidics approximately two decades ago, there has been a steady increase in the interest and development of tools for fluid flow at the microscale. Precise temporal and spatial flow control in microfluidics make it a powerful platform for studying dynamic biological processes that occur over short timescales. This field generates an equally diverse array of applications ranging from biology research, drug delivery to point-of-care (POC) diagnostic chips to organic synthesis and microreactors. Microfluidic tools combined with advanced molecular, imaging, and bioinformatics techniques form a flexible ‘toolbox’ that life scientists actively adopt to facilitate new lines of biological inquiry.
Fig.1 A simple, inexpensive microfluidic diagnostic device. (Whitesides, 2006)
Creative Biolabs has been an expert in microfluidic for over ten years. We are dedicated to delivering high-quality one-stop microfluidic solutions that support your microfluidic development projects, thanks to highly specialized staff and advanced equipment. At Creative Biolabs, all services can be tailored to our client’s specific needs. If you have a project that requires the expertise and knowledge in microfluidics that we can provide, please feel free to contact us.
For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.