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Integrated Microfluidics

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Science  14 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5746, pp. 199
DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5746.199a

Microfluidics involves the handling and manipulation of very small fluid volumes, and there is much hope that small, portable, and low-cost devices can be designed for tackling global health problems. Pal et al. have been able to fabricate a complex device that integrates heaters, temperature sensors, and valves that can control nanoliter-volume reactors in series followed by an electrophoretic separation. Because the key components are electronically addressable, it should be possible to make the device operate autonomously. The device was used for a number of analyses, including the subtyping of two strains of influenza and the amplification of human DNA, mouse plasmid DNA, and plasmid DNA of one of the flu strains. Currently, the device costs about $7 per unit to make, but this can be reduced to below $1 by scaling down the features by an order of magnitude while retaining functionality. It remains to be determined whether sample preparation will be integrated into the device or remain offline and how portable the device will become. — MSL

Lab on a Chip 5, 1024 (2005).

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