Browse Definitions :
Definition

microfluidics

Microfluidics is the science of designing, manufacturing, and formulating devices and processes that deal with volumes of fluid on the order of nanoliters (symbolized nl and representing units of 10 -9 liter) or picoliters (symbolized pl and representing units of 10 -12 liter). The devices themselves have dimensions ranging from millimeters (mm) down to micrometers (?m), where 1 ?m = 0.001 mm.

Microfluidics hardware requires construction and design that differs from macroscale hardware. It is not generally possible to scale conventional devices down and then expect them to work in microfluidics applications. When the dimensions of a device or system reach a certain size as the scale becomes smaller, the particles of fluid, or particles suspended in the fluid, become comparable in size with the apparatus itself. This dramatically alters system behavior. Capillary action changes the way in which fluids pass through microscale-diameter tubes, as compared with macroscale channels. In addition, there are unknown factors involved, especially concerning microscale heat transfer and mass transfer, the nature of which only further research can reveal.

The volumes involved in microfluidics can be understood by visualizing the size of a one-liter container, and then imagining cubical fractions of this container. A liter is slightly more than one U.S. fluid quart. A cube measuring 100 mm (a little less than four inches) on an edge has a volume of one liter. Imagine a tiny cube whose height, width, and depth are 1/1000 (0.001) of this size, or 0.1 mm. This is the size of a small grain of table sugar; it would take a strong magnifying glass to resolve it into a recognizable cube. That cube would occupy 1 nl. A volume of 1 pl is represented by a cube whose height, width, and depth are 1/10 (0.1) that of a 1-nl cube. It would take a powerful microscope to resolve that.

Microfluidic systems have diverse and widespread potential applications. Some examples of systems and processes that might employ this technology include inkjet printers, blood-cell-separation equipment, biochemical assays, chemical synthesis, genetic analysis, drug screening, electrochromatography, surface micromachining, laser ablation, and mechanical micromilling. Not surprisingly, the medical industry has shown keen interest in microfluidics technology.

Also see nanotechnology .

This was last updated in September 2005

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • Health IT (health information technology)

    Health IT (health information technology) is the area of IT involving the design, development, creation, use and maintenance of ...

  • fee-for-service (FFS)

    Fee-for-service (FFS) is a payment model in which doctors, hospitals, and medical practices charge separately for each service ...

  • biomedical informatics

    Biomedical informatics is the branch of health informatics that uses data to help clinicians, researchers and scientists improve ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

  • ransomware recovery

    Ransomware recovery is the process of resuming options following a cyberattack that demands payment in exchange for unlocking ...

  • natural disaster recovery

    Natural disaster recovery is the process of recovering data and resuming business operations following a natural disaster.

SearchStorage

  • RAID 5

    RAID 5 is a redundant array of independent disks configuration that uses disk striping with parity.

  • non-volatile storage (NVS)

    Non-volatile storage (NVS) is a broad collection of technologies and devices that do not require a continuous power supply to ...

  • petabyte

    A petabyte is a measure of memory or data storage capacity that is equal to 2 to the 50th power of bytes.

Close