What is Lab-on-a-chip?

Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technology devices integrate and scale down laboratory functions and processes to a miniaturized chip of few centimetres on size.

  • There are several advantages to the lab-on-a-chip approach, beyond the convenience of being able to test in the field, test sample required is much smaller because of the sensitivity of the chip and it provide more better analysis and observation of minute samples.

Moreover, it provides additional advantages like low fluid volumes consumption, faster analysis, response times, fast heating, high surface to volume ratios, small heat capacities., compactness, lower fabrication costs, , smaller fluid volumes and stored energies etc.

  • LOC devices can be fabricated from many types of material including various polymers, glass, or silicon, or combinations of these materials. LOC systems have several common features including microfluidics and sensing capabilities.
  • Microfluidics deals with fluid flow in tiny channels using flow control devices (e.g. channels, pumps, mixers and valves). Sensing capabilities, usually optical or electrochemical sensors, can also be integrated into the chip. The basis for most LOC fabrication processes is photolithography.

The platform is a combination product of nanotechnology, biotechnology and micro-electronics. It is being developed for environmental monitoring of pollutants and, increasingly, in basic scientific research to speed up the once-tedious aspects of examining genes or testing the properties of new materials, medicine etc.

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