Current Nanoscience


Microfluidics: from Engineering to Life Sciences

Author(s): Mihaela D. Leonida, Ish Kumar.


This interdisciplinary view of microfluidics at the interface with life sciences starts with presentation of the advantages and challenges presented by microfluidic devices. The forces important for flow in microchannels are discussed and special emphasis is placed on electrokinetic effects. The laws and principles governing flow in microchannels are compared to those important in macroflow and experimental methods used to measure flow in microchannels are introduced. Because flow in microchannels is laminar, for many applications there is need to enhance mixing and different ways to achieve this are presented herein. Due to the important influence of surface interactions for microfluidics, the materials used to manufacture microchannels are very important in flow control. A separate section discusses glass, silicon-based materials, and newer soft polymers used in microfluidic devices and the connection between their structure and the properties they impart to the flow. The field in which there are already numerous commercially available microfluidic devices is biotechnology. Some applications are discussed in a separate section. Lab-on-a-chip devices, due to their importance, are presented in a separate unit. Future directions of research in this interdisciplinary field are briefly discussed.

Keywords: Electrokinetic, interdisciplinary, lab-on-a-chip, microflow, microfluidics, microchannel, flow control

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Page: [458 - 473]
Pages: 16
DOI: 10.2174/157341312800620151
Price: $58