Materials Science

A Microfluidic Construction Kit

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Science  18 Jul 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5887, pp. 319
DOI: 10.1126/science.321.5887.319b

The field of microfluidics has blossomed as chemists and engineers have devised clever ways to handle small fluid volumes. Although many approaches exist for making devices, they often include lithographic or printing techniques. To overcome this limitation, Rhee and Burns show the feasibility of a microfluidic construction kit where individual grids are assembled by hand on a substrate. The grids range in size from 4 to 8 mm2 and include units for fluid inlet and outlet, channels for mixing or separation, small or large chambers for sample collection, and valves and culture beds for growing cells. Grids can be placed on bare glass or on a surface coated with a thin polymer layer to improve adhesion. For better bonding, curing agents can be used to fuse the grids to the substrate and each other. Notched or covered grids, though somewhat more complex, can be used to improve grid alignment. The authors envision that these kits can expand the use of microfluidics by non-experts, particularly in the biological sciences. — MSL

Lab on a Chip 8, 10.1039/b805137b (2008).

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