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What Exciting Possibilities are Offered by Microfluidics?

Feb 24, 2021 11:00:00 AM / by Sean Lightheart

What Are the Many Exciting Possibilities Offered by Microfluidics? 

 

As an advanced materials manufacturer, our team at Integrated Graphene specialise in incorporating graphene into industry-leading technologies. Using a proprietary manufacturing method, we produce the world’s highest quality pure 3D Graphene Foam, Gii, on any surface, in seconds. Powered by Gii, our in-house expertise has allowed us to pioneer a step up in human diagnostic technology. We take products from concept to market and can deliver a range of solutions for your next-generation device development, including assay chemistry, cartridge and reader concept development. 

 

 

Microfluidics, as the name implies, is the science of fluid mechanics on a microscale. Microscale fluid systems are composed of several micro-components capable of processing and precisely manipulating very small volumes (nano-litre to milli-litre range) of fluids. It is an interdisciplinary field involving engineering, bioscience, chemistry, micro-technology and life sciences. 

 microfludic image cropped

 

The ability to fabricate microfluidic chips, simulate microfluidic processes, and perform experiments with soft matter in confinement, has transformed life as we know it and our ability to deliver more effective healthcare. 

 

Over the coming weeks, we plan to introduce many exciting possibilities offered by microfluidics as part of a series of articles detailing the field as we see it. At Integrated Graphene, we have a team of highly trained engineers with decades of microfluidic experience in designing customer-specific devices, optimising protocols and developing and delivering metering instruments and systems. This, coupled with our ability to integrate the wonderous electrochemical properties of 3D Graphene Foam from Gii-Sens into our solutions, gives us a truly unique perspective that we will chronicle in this blog. 

 

What Are the Different Microfluidic Formats and Application Fields Changing the Face of Medicine? 

 

To design, build, and operate devices that can manipulate drugs, particles, and biological materials like proteins and cells in miniaturised fluid volumes, allows us to bridge between large-scale laboratories and the point-of-care (POC). Using microfluidic solutions, we can create diagnostics, automated drug formulation, fast screening, protein crystallization, drug delivery, microbioreactors, organ-on-chip, and many other applications. 

 

The benefits from POC diagnostics are vast; allowing for rapid testing, administering analysis quickly, resulting in more effective decision making regarding a patient’s care and ensuring their efficient treatment. Devices that we design with your chemistry can help to decrease the length of hospital stays for many, improving patient quality of life and reducing the strain on our healthcare systems. 

 

Microfluidics has long been a challenge to master. Taking your macro-scale lab assay and making the chemistry work within a POC device is an art. The balance of controlling many parameters and variables to deliver an accurate, precise result on a micro-scale is a challenge, but also a huge opportunity. The volumes of fluid in a micro-device, and the pathways designed for them, are so small that different difficulties arise in managing them, including: 

  • volume
  • temperature
  • mixing
  • flow/fluid
  • signal output

 

Our extensive experience within the microfluidic diagnostic sector has allowed us to streamline our techniques to optimise the protocol within products. 

 lab on chip

When creating novel diagnostics tests, diagnostic manufacturers are actively seeking high-precision manufacturing of quality parts for microfluidic systems, medical disposables and lab-on-a-chip devices. This is enabled by access to proprietary fluid technologies, rapid tooling and injection moulding techniques. The importance of effectively designing and developing a disposable device requires an acute understanding of the developer’s requirements, the end-user’s need and derived assay protocol to deliver a device that meets the desired criteria. 

 

Over the coming weeks, we will be demonstrating some of our latest microfluidics projects. We will be examining functionality, performance, manufacturing and ease of assembly. We believe that microfluidics holds the key to overcoming some of the greatest diagnostics challenges of the 21st century, such as neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease – so-called protein misfolding diseases. The ability to filter and detect the involved proteins and biomarkers in order to analyse these from a biophysical point of view in a controllable lab-on-chip environment will enable the eradication of these diseases. 

 

So be sure to return next week for the next instalment of the many exciting possibilities offered by microfluidics and discover how we are enabling the products of the future, today. 

 

Want to find out how we can enable your next generation diagnostic test development? Contact us today.

Tags: Gii-Sens, Point of Care, Lighthouse Project, 3D Graphene Foam, Graphene Applications

Sean Lightheart

Written by Sean Lightheart

Sean Lightheart is the Marketing Manager for Integrated Graphene