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What is a Microfluidic Chip?

What is a Microfluidic Chip?

1. Basic definition of microfluidic chip

Microfluidic chip, also known as Lab-on-chip, is a science and technology characterized by the manipulation of fluids in the micron-scale space.

At present, the mainstream form of microfluidic chip refers to the integration or basic integration of basic operating units such as sample preparation, reaction, separation, detection, cell culture, sorting, and lysis involved in the fields of chemistry and biology. On a smaller chip, a network is formed by microchannels to run through the entire system with controllable fluids to achieve various functions in different laboratories such as conventional chemistry, biology, materials, and optics.

2. Fluid drive and detection of microfluidic chips

In microfluidic chips, fluid driving methods can generally be divided into two categories: mechanical driving methods (including pneumatic micropump, piezoelectric micropump, reciprocating micropump, centrifugal force driving, etc.) and non-mechanical driving methods (including electroosmotic driving) , gravity drive, etc.).

Compared with traditional detectors, microfluidic chips have stricter requirements on detectors, which are mainly reflected in three aspects: high sensitivity, fast response speed and small size. Among the current microfluidic chip detection technologies, optical detection and electrochemical detection are the most widely used.

3. Application of microfluidic chip

Microfluidic chips are mainly used in the following three aspects at this stage:

1) Analysis and diagnosis

As an analysis platform with low sample consumption, fast analysis speed and high sensitivity, microfluidic chip has great application potential in the field of point-of-care diagnosis (POCT). The application of microfluidic chips in the realization of POCT industrialization mainly focuses on molecular diagnosis represented by nucleic acid analysis and immunodiagnosis represented by protein analysis, as well as some biochemical diagnosis represented by metabolite analysis. In addition, due to the heterogeneity of cell populations, droplet microfluidic chips have also been applied to single-cell studies in single-cell analysis techniques.

2) Screening synthesis

High-throughput screening of different materials is an important application field of droplet microfluidic chips, such as industrial enzymes or sorting bacteria with different antibiotic resistance. In addition, due to the flexible manipulation, variable shape and uniform size of droplets, it can be applied in the field of materials, especially the synthesis of high value-added microparticle materials.

3) Organ Chip

Based on microfluidic technology, combined with biology, and with living cells as the background, human organs reconstituted in the form of micro-engineered devices can reproduce the physiological and mechanical functions of the human body, and through precise control of fluid flow, mechanical signals and The combination of various tissue interfaces can establish a dynamic model, thereby achieving a more simulated effect than traditional static cell culture.

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