The biological sciences are increasingly using microfluidics because it allows for precise, controlled tests to be carried out more quickly and at a lesser cost.
What is microfluidics?
The study of systems that use microscopic channels of microscale dimensions, typically tens to hundreds of micrometers, to process small amounts of fluids is known as microfluidics. Even though it is still in its infancy, microfluidics is quickly becoming a ground-breaking technology with uses in a wide range of industries, from biology and chemistry to information technology and optics.
How do they work?
System for microfluidics function by utilizing a chip and a pump. The liquid is accurately moved into the chip at rates ranging from 1L /minute to 10,000L/minute by various sorts of pumps. Microfluidics channels located inside the chip allow the liquid to be processed through mixing, chemical, or physical reactions. Small particles like cells or nanoparticles may be carried by the liquid. The microfluidic device makes it possible to process these particles, for instance, by capturing and collecting cancer cells from healthy blood cells.
Why use Microfluidics?
Microfluidics is employed for a number of purposes. Utilize a tiny size scale in the micron range first. Every 3D form type, such as a rectangular channel or chamber, has a surface area to volume ratio that rises with decreasing size. As a result, targets like cells, pathogens, or nanoparticles are easier for microchannels to trap. Microfluidics is ideal for sensing or detecting because, in contrast, magnetic or electric fields are more effective over a small distance. Microfluidics also has the ability to see and characterize small objects, such as living cells. Making lab on chip devices allows for the miniaturization or integration of traditional laboratory procedures while saving money and time.
The field of microfluidics has recently seen the emergence of droplet-based microfluidics as a potent technique. Droplets of very small volumes are produced using droplet microfluidic devices. Droplet microfluidics has three main applications: molecular biology, microparticle production, and microorganism investigations. Droplets act as biological reactors in molecular biology. Each droplet may be carefully examined as single cells are caught inside of them and go through a sequence of responses. The hydrogel droplets used for microparticle production are frequently solidified via a light, chemical, or thermal process after being generated.
Applications of microfluidics
- Capillary electrophoresis, isoelectric focusing, immunoassays, flow cytometry, sample injection in mass spectrometry, PCR amplification, DNA analysis, cell separation, and manipulation, and cell patterning are a few techniques that frequently make use of microfluidic devices.
- Microfluidic system offers a wide range of analytical applications in the biopharmaceutical industry, including the monitoring and improvement of protein drug manufacturing and assays involving human cells.
- Molecular diffusion coefficients, fluid viscosity, pH, and chemical binding coefficients are all measured using microfluidic equipment.
- Microfluidics is mostly used in research on the kinetics of chemical reactions, the movement of nanoparticles in blood, and the investigation of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.
Advantages of Microfluidics
- With the help of continuous perfusion culture or chemical gradients, for example, microfluidic cell culture can more accurately imitate a cell's natural microenvironment.
- It also enables researchers to investigate small populations of cells or single cells with great temporal and/or spatial precision.
- Using only trace amounts of reagents and samples.
- Greater microscale control of experimental variables and sample concentration.
- Analytical and diagnostic systems have a smaller footprint than large lab machines.
In research labs, brand-new microfluidic instruments are being created for application in metabolomics, proteomics, and genomes. Microfluidics promises innovative and cutting-edge capabilities for the future, albeit in its infancy. How to fully utilize the potential of this alluring technology should hopefully be the subject of more active academic research.
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