The Development History of Microfluidic Chips


Introduction to Integrated Circuit and Photolithography

Microfluidic chip has proven its significant role in many life science fields, especially for biomedical and chemical studies. Moreover, a wide battery of classical technologies, such as photolithography and integrated circuit technology can facilitate the development of microfluidics by borrowing their principles and biomaterials before microfluidics became its unique science. For example, the integrated circuit is an assembly of an electronic chip that consists of two main parts, active units and passive units connected by a thin substrate of semiconductor material, like silicon. Till now, a variety of integrated circuits have been used for the production of microfluidic chips to analyze different liquid samples. Also, photolithography has been designed for producing silicon semiconductor patterns by using oxide layers on both integrated circuits fabrication and microfluidic chip development. As a result, the rise of these techniques has laid the foundation for microfluidic development.

The History of Microfluidic Chips Fig.1 The History of Microfluidic Chips.

The History of Microfluidic Chips Development

The history of microfluidic chip development can date back to the 1960s, principally in microfluidic fabrication. In the past few years, a wide range of soft-lithography technologies like microcontact printing (µCT) and replica molding (REM), have been established for patterning small structures in the field of microfluidic chips development. Meanwhile, a series of materials, including silicon, glass, and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), have been used for microchips rapid prototyping. Typically, PDMS has been regarded as the most popular material in microelectronics due to its ease of culture and high cell compatibility.

Based on these researches, several precisely controlled microfluidic systems have been generated for reducing the volume of the fluid minimize the fluid handling unit. Over time, many attempts have been made by researchers to produce novel microfluidic components for fluid delivery, fluid mixing, valve control, or the separation and concentration of micro-molecules.

The Main Timeline of Microfluidic Chips Development

Currently, microfluidic chip technologies, including but not limited to, lab-on-a-chip technology, three-dimensional (3D) cell culture, organs-on-chips as well as droplet techniques, have all been developed for different kinds of microfluidic chips for various disease treatments. To meet the challenging requirements, Creative Biolabs has built a team of experienced scientists with facilities and processes designed specifically to provide the best strategy and protocols customized to suit any microfluidic chip discovery project.


  1. Ngwa, C.; et al. CD200-CD200R signaling and diseases: a potential therapeutic target ?. International journal of physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. 2019, 11(6): 297.

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