“Microfluidics” – does that ring a bell?
Many people are aware of terms like “nanotechnology,” “genetic engineering” and other “scientific” terms, but ask them about microfluidics, more likely than not, many would stare at you blankly. The word is just too alien for the majority of us. Little do they know that despite of the term “micro,” microfluidics has a massive role in industries that employ biotechnology, nanotechnology, genomics and other similar sciences.
So what exactly is “microfluidics”?
Microfluidics is the science that deals with the accurate control and manipulation, as well as, understanding the behaviour of fluids of volumes that are too small to measure with conventional measurements.
When manipulating liquids of volume this small, scientists usually use passive fluid control techniques like capillary forces. However, with more advance applications, companies such as Epigem that offers specialist expertise in precision engineering of polymer materials, active components as micropumps or microvalves to control the flow or dose of fluids.
An example of industry that employs such science are pharmaceutical companies. Because pharmaceutical companies require intensive analytical techniques in order to accurately characterize particles in the miniscule volumes of the fluids they use, they just couldn’t use conventional methods to produce their products. Through, microfluidics, it is now possible to actively control the fluids necessary in processes such as protein sizing.
Microfluidics is truly a great wonder of our modern world. This technology holds promising future for many of us. No wonder, companies like Epigem has been investing on bigger and bolder research on microfluidics. In the near future, experts even report of creating small chips that can be inserted in the body to help with the diagnosis of diseases. Theoretically bodily fluids such as blood could be transported microscopic channels etched into tiny polymer’s surface, like those found in electronic chips to learn the condition of the body.