Riding the Microfluidic Wave

Photo: Courtesy of Eksigent Technologies Eksigent Technologies' electrokinetic high-flow-rate EKPump These days, miniaturization is king. In the emerging field of microfluidics, routine laboratory analyses are shrinking to the microliter, nanoliter, or even picoliter level. The result: a vast reduction in sample and reagent consumption, decreased waste generation, dramatically faster operation, and an incredible potential for the automation and massive, parallel processing of laboratory

Deborah Fitzgerald
Nov 24, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of Eksigent Technologies
 Eksigent Technologies' electrokinetic high-flow-rate EKPump

These days, miniaturization is king. In the emerging field of microfluidics, routine laboratory analyses are shrinking to the microliter, nanoliter, or even picoliter level. The result: a vast reduction in sample and reagent consumption, decreased waste generation, dramatically faster operation, and an incredible potential for the automation and massive, parallel processing of laboratory procedures. Best of all, these benefits come bundled with greater resolution in separations, exquisite control over mixing, and the capacity for expediting chemical reactions within highly controlled microenvironments.

Microfluidic approaches lend themselves to a versatile, cost-efficient model of operation, in which a single, central instrument processes numerous disposable, application-specific, microfluidic devices. The marketplace already supports a diverse array of applications, and researchers and microfluidics engineers alike are keen to miniaturize and integrate many more. To develop these systems, companies are sampling from a growing palate of...