What is Lab-on-a-Chip?
Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) is a microfluidic device, typically a small glass or plastic chip, which can manipulate fluids including functions such as filtering, mixing or driving the fluids to a detection site. The LOC can in some cases be a complete sensor that detects certain molecules in the fluid. The main advantage of the Lab-on-a-Chip is that it can handle small volumes, often down to pico-liters. This makes LOC devices much more efficient, compared to work in a regular laboratory.
The Lab-on-a-Chip contains small micro- or nano channels, often etched into glass or silicon and sealed either in glass or PDMS.
Lab-on-a-Chip and how we can help
The Lab-on-a-Chip has received great academic interest in the past 15 years. NILT supports product development and production of LOC products, by offering capabilities within nanoimprint lithography, hot embossing and microfluidic chips etched into glass or silicon.
You can also buy a master from us in silicon, quarts or nickel, for imprinting of microfluidic patterns. A lid can then be thermally bonded by the CNI to enclose the microfluidic network. This is a cost efficient way of manufacturing high-resolution fluidic networks.
Advantages of the Lab-on-a-Chip
The Lab-on-a-Chip provides many advantages. These advantages depend on the applications in question, but typical advantages of the LOC are as follows:
- Low consumption of fluid volumes
- Quicker response times and analysis, because of short diffusion distances, quick heating, high surface to volume ratios and small heat capacities.
- The control of the process is better due to faster response of the system
- Greater compactness of the systems, because of integration of a lot of functionality and small volumes
- Massive parallelization, because of the compactness, which allows high-throughput analysis
- Low fabrication costs, giving cost-effective disposable chips in mass production
- Part quality can be verified automatically
- A safer platform for biological, chemical or radioactive studies due to integration of functionality, smaller fluid volumes and stored energies