What is microfluidics?
Microfluidics designates the handling of small quantities of liquid, usually in the range of microliters (10-6 liters) to picoliters (10-12 liters). This technology started in the 1980s and is becoming always more popular with the development of microelectronic technologies and microscale chemical analysis.
Microfluidics are used in various applications, such as inkjet printers, blood-cell-separation equipment, biochemical assays, chemical synthesis, genetic analysis, drug screening and chromatography. They are also being more and more used for medicine and now allow for point-of-care (POC) devices.
Why use microfluidics?
By scaling everything down, it is possible to win volume (both for materials and storage space), time and money. It’s exactly what happened with computers. The very first computer took up a whole room. Now, you carry one in your own pocket! And your smartphone is capable of doing much more things than that original computer! Well it’s the same with microfluidics. It helps you make more compact analyses with a better performance. This allows us to use smaller samples and reagents, drastically reducing the costs.