Chemical technology news from across RSC Publishing.
Flow chemistry for the masses
08 July 2008
Two new build-your-own microfluidic systems promise to simplify the technology so the whole research community can use it, say scientists in the US.
The microfluidic blocks connect together like jigsaw pieces
Microfluids systems offer chemists and biologists a host of advantages over conventional-scale experiments, including minimising the amount of expensive reagents required, and the ability to integrate multiple experiments into a single system. However, their complex set-up limits their use. Now, two groups in the US have developed sets of microfluidic components that can be simply connected together into a variety of reactor designs.
- Mark Burns, University of Michigan, USA
'I have one collaborator in the chemistry department using the blocks, but I'd like to set up a web page selling bags of them,' says Burns. And the system should be affordable, he adds: 'Each block should cost significantly under a US dollar.'
Meanwhile, Po Ki Yuen at US firm Corning has developed a series of microfluidic modules that clip together just like Lego bricks. The key development is a miniature luer fitting, which gives a leak-free seal between the components up to a pressure of at least 3.5 bar.
'My ultimate goal is to develop a complete 'plug-n-play' system that can be controlled by a computer,' says Yuen. 'The system has not been commercialised; a business decision has not yet been made to do so. My focus at this point in time is to work with university professors to see if the system can be a benefit for their microfluidics classes.'
James Mitchell Crow
Link to journal article
SmartBuild–A truly plug-n-play modular microfluidic system
Po Ki Yuen, Lab Chip, 2008, 8, 1374
Also of interest
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A glass microchip has been used for the first time to carry out fast carbonylative cross-coupling reactions of arylhalides to form secondary amides.