Microfluidic chip technologies, such as lab-on-a-chip technology, three-dimensional (3D) cell culture, organs-on-chip and droplet techniques, precisely control and manipulate a small amount of fluid on the microscale to perform a chemical or biological process of some kind. They can integrate the process of sample pretreatment, separation and various kinds of detection techniques into a chip of a few square centimeters, thus realizing the miniaturization, automation, integration and portability of sample pretreatment and follow-up analysis. Owing to their many advantages over traditional detection methods, such as system miniaturization, high analytical throughput, enhanced sensitivity, improved analytical performance, fast detection, simple operation, multi-functional integration, small size and portability, and less sample consumption, microfluidic chip technologies have been applied in many fields including cell biology, genetic analysis, drug development, and food safety sensing.
Microfluidic chip technology includes chip processing, sealing, microfluidic driving, signal collection, analysis and detection. The manufacture of microfluidic chips mainly involves chip processing, sealing and other links. This process mainly depends on micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) processing technology which possesses the ability of micro-level micro-fluid control. Next, we will briefly introduce the materials and methods of microfluidic chip processing, microfluidic chip based sample introduction and pretreatment, and microfluidic chip based detection systems.
Silicon and glass are the earliest substrate materials used for microfluidic chips. However, their expensive price and difficult processing hamper their latter applications in microfluidic chip processing. Now silicon and glass materials have been replaced by various low-cost polymer materials, such as elastomer materials, paper materials, thermoplastic polymers, thermoset polymers, biomaterials, and so on. For different materials, there have different processing techniques including micro-molding, laser ablation, 2D/3D printing, Injection molding, bonding technology, and thermal compression bonding.
Drive and control of microfluid is one of the key techniques in the development of the microfluidic analytical system. The microfluidic chip analysis system completes the functions of sampling, dilution, injection, reaction, separation, analysis and detection on the chip system mainly through driving and controlling the fluid in the microchannel. The research of microfluidic driving technology suitable for microchannels is the premise and foundation of microfluidic control. According to different application principles and forms, microfluidic driving and control techniques are divided into pressure driving, electric driving, and other driving techniques.
A chip-based capillary electrophoresis system has been designed to integrate multiple sample processing steps such as mixture, reaction, concentration, and separating into a microchip, allowing fast, automated, miniaturized, and multiplexed biological analysis. Now, much attention has been attracted to the micro-chip capillary electrophoresis technique because of its many advantages such as high degree of integration, portability, minimal reagent consumption, and high performance.
Sample pretreatment is the stage that consumes more time and solvents and sample introduction may introduce contaminations. Therefore, it is very important to develop an efficient sample introduction and pretreatment system for an analytical system. Microfluidic-based sample introduction and pretreatment system provide an effective tool for the analytical process, which overcomes several drawbacks of traditional sample treatment methods. Microfluidic-based technology has been reported in whole blood sample pretreatment including blood cell and plasma separation, white blood cell lysis, and DNA purification.
Microfluidic detection technology is emerged as one of the most promising analytical tools due to its many unique advantages such as its small footprint and energy consumption, and minimal use of reagent, as well as real-time analysis for analytes. They have been widely used in many fields, such as drug development involving drug screening, active testing, and the study of metabolism. Microfluidic chips coupled with various kinds of detection techniques such as MS are applied for the detection of multiple samples at the same time.
Creative Biolabs has more than a decade of microfluidic chip development experience and offers a wide range of microfluidic chip development services from scheme design and optimization to high-quality data delivery. Our in-home scientists work with customers to provide optimized solutions for the development, manufacturing, and functionality of microfluidic chips. If you are interested in our services, please contact us to discuss your project.
For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.