Lab on a Chip

Miniaturisation for chemistry, physics, biology, materials science and bioengineering

Editor's Choice

Lab on a Chip has been at the vanguard of miniaturisation since its launch. In the first of a new series, Harp Minhas, the Editor of Lab on a Chip, discusses his selection of a few of the outstanding papers he's published.

Miniaturising point-of-care testing

This review evaluated the state of the art for point-of-care and personal monitoring. I chose it for highlighting the potential of lab on chip technologies to extend clinical practice from the hospital or lab to everyday life.

Trends in miniaturized total analysis systems for point-of-care testing in clinical chemistry
Anna J. Tüds, Geert A. J. Besselink and Richard B. M. Schasfoort, Lab Chip, 2001, 1, 83
DOI: 10.1039/b106958f

DNA analysis on an integrated PCR-CE chip

I believe this was the first demonstration of an entirely integrated microfluidic analysis on a chip. The device anticipated progress in forensics and point-of-care medical diagnostics. This paper has been a very popular download from the website.

Fully integrated PCR-capillary electrophoresis microsystem for DNA analysis
Eric T. Lagally, Charles A. Emrich and Richard A. Mathies, Lab Chip, 2001, 1, 102
DOI: 10.1039/b109031n

Microreactors for organic synthesis

This showed that a continuous flow microfluidic system could be used to synthesise a series of compounds. Although simple, the approach could support a broad range of chemistries on microreactors.

A Hantzsch synthesis of 2-aminothiazoles performed in a heated microreactor system
Eduardo Garcia-Egido, Stephanie Y. F. Wong and Brian H. Warrington, Lab Chip, 2002, 2, 31
DOI: 10.1039/b109360f

Visible analog computing

I chose this paper for the sheer fun of this type of research. The researchers constructed a partial map of London on a microchip to test whether shortest path problems can be solved using microtechnologies. This allowed them to investigate whether London taxi drivers give us the run-around!

Glow discharge in microfluidic chips for visible analog computing
Darwin R. Reyes, Moustafa M. Ghanem, George M. Whitesides and Andreas Manz, Lab Chip, 2002, 2, 113
DOI: 10.1039/b200589a

Microfabrication with a CO2-laser

This work was the first to fabricate complex microstructured channels using a CO2-laser - originally designed to mark objects with logos or barcodes - instead of UV laser systems.

CO2-laser micromachining and back-end processing for rapid production of PMMA-based microfluidic systems
Henning Klank, Jörg P. Kutter and Oliver Geschke, Lab Chip, 2002, 2, 242
DOI: 10.1039/b206409j

Integrated temperature control in microfluidic devices

Accurate temperature control is not always easy to achieve in (bio)chemical reactions. These researchers provided an elegant solution to locally regulate temperature in microfluidic devices without external heating or cooling elements by harnessing chemical and physical processes such as the evaporation of acetone.

Chemical and physical processes for integrated temperature control in microfluidic devices
Rosanne M. Guijt, Arash Dodge, Gijs W. K. van Dedem, Nico F. de Rooij and Elisabeth Verpoorte, Lab Chip, 2003, 3, 1
DOI: 10.1039/b210629a

Materials that complicate fluorescence detection in µTAS

This work provided a note of caution to researchers who use materials without having fully understood their properties. Polymers and plastics are the materials of choice for microfluidics and uTAS applications, many of which use fluorescence detection. Hawkins and Yager made important observations of the fluorescent intensities of polymers.

Nonlinear decrease of background fluorescence in polymer thin-films – a survey of materials and how they can complicate fluorescence detection in µTAS
Kenneth R. Hawkins and Paul Yager, Lab Chip, 2003, 3, 248
DOI: 10.1039/b307772c

Microfluidics for sequence-selective DNA detection

The authors provide a simple on-site method for sequence-specific DNA detection. Their serpentine-structured microchannel device is capable of high accuracy. Specific detection of probe-bound DNA is possible, and the authors propose that single base mutations can also be analysed.

Sequence-selective DNA detection using multiple laminar streams: A novel microfluidic analysis method
Kenichi Yamashita, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, Masaya Miyazaki, Hiroyuki Nakamura, Hazime Shimizu and Hideaki Maeda, Lab Chip, 2004, 4, 1
DOI: 10.1039/b311571b

Integrated digital clinical diagnostics

This paper presents a fully integrated and reconfigurable "digital" microfluidic chip for clinical diagnostics on human physiological fluids. Transport and bioassay on real samples is demonstrated for the first time on an electrowetting device. The paper features some excellent video footage.

An integrated digital microfluidic lab-on-a-chip for clinical diagnostics on human physiological fluids
Vijay Srinivasan, Vamsee K. Pamula and Richard B. Fair, Lab Chip, 2004, 4, 310
DOI: 10.1039/b403341h

Confinement of single myocytes

This paper describes BioMEMS for trapping single cardiac myocytes in a chemically controlled, restricted extracellular space. In vitro simulation of in vivo conditions, not possible with conventional electrophysiological and perfusion techniques, was achieved. This could provide the basis for development of single cell biosensors and automated single cell assays.

A microfluidic device to confine a single cardiac myocyte in a sub-nanoliter volume on planar microelectrodes for extracellular potential recordings
Andreas A. Werdich, Eduardo A. Lima, Borislav Ivanov, Igor Ges, Mark E. Anderson, John P. Wikswo and Franz J. Baudenbacher, Lab Chip, 2004, 4, 357
DOI: 10.1039/b315648f

Note: This article is the opinion of the editor only - no endorsement by the RSC is implied.