Microfluidics for miniaturized laboratories on a chip

Thomas A Franke, Achim Wixforth
Chemphyschem: a European Journal of Chemical Physics and Physical Chemistry 2008 October 24, 9 (15): 2140-56
Microfluidic systems promise solutions for high throughput and highly specific analysis for biology, medicine and chemistry while consuming only tiny amounts of reactants and space. On these lab-on-a-chip platforms often multiple physical effects such as electrokinetic, acoustic or capillary phenomena from various disciplines are exploited to gain the optimal functionality. The fluidics on these small length scales differ significantly from our experience of the macroscopic world. In this Review we survey some of the approaches and techniques to handle minute amounts of fluid volumes in microfluidic systems with special focus on surface acoustic wave driven fluidics, a technique developed in our laboratory. Here, we outline the basics of this technique and demonstrate, for example, how acoustic mixing and fluid actuation is realized. Furthermore we discuss the interplay of different physical effects in microfluidic systems and illustrate their usefulness for several applications.

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