Microfluidics, the precise control and manipulation of small volumes of liquids, is heavily used in any field that does small-scale experiments with expensive reagents (We’re looking at you, natural sciences.) However, the process commonly used to create microfluidic devices is time and experience intensive. But, worry not: the Uppsala iGEM team has created Chipgineering: A manual for manufacturing a microfluidic chip.
Used while developing everything from inkjet print heads to micro-thermal technologies, microfluidic systems are generally useful. Specifically, Uppsala’s microfluidic device performs a simple biological procedure, a heat-shock transformation, as a proof of concept. Moreover, Uppsala uses commonly available materials: ready to pour PDMS (a biologically compatible silicon) and a 3D printed mold. Additionally, while the team used a resin 3D printer, there seems to be little reason that a fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer wouldn’t work just as well. Particularly interesting is how they sandwich their PDMS between two plates, potentially allowing easy removal and replacement of reagents without external mechanisms. And, to put the cherry on top, Uppsala’s well-illustrated documentation is a joy to read.
This isn’t the first time we’ve covered microfluidic devices, and if you’re still in the prototyping phase, these microfluidic LEGO-like blocks might be what you need. But, if you prefer macrofluidics, this waste shark that aims to clean our oceans might be more your style.
10 thoughts on “Easy DIY Microfluidics”
I should bone up on this. Wanna screw around with quantum dots sometime ….
PDF technology hasn’t hit Finland yet
Complaining about “wrong” format when you have the wrong country? Uppsala -> Sweden.
Replace “silicon” with “silicone.”
Replace “.”” with “”.”
Replace “;” with “(U+037E)”
The interesting thing about microfluidics is when it’s combined with other technologies to create “labs-on-a-chip”. Especially portable ones.
Probably gonna be part of a “real” tricorder eventually.
In the mean time smaller, more affordable laboratory equipment, as if science isn’t expensive enough. Maybe even the democratizing of science, were everyone has the potential to be a scientist just like they can be a programmer.
Anyone can be a programmer just like anyone can flip burgers.
The wages don’t seem to agree.
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