Researchers at the University of Michigan have created microfluidic integrated circuits as a way to simplify lab-on-a-chip devices that could offer quicker, cheaper and more portable medical tests. A paper on the technology is newly published in Nature Physics.The paper is titled "Integrated Elastomeric Components for Autonomous Regulation of Sequential and Oscillatory Flow Switching in Microfluidic Devices." the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research funded This research.Also contributing were researchers from the U-M departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering as well as the Macromolecular Science and Engineering Center.
Shu Takayama, the principal investigator on the project. Takayama is an associate professor in the U-M Department of Biomedical Engineering, said "In most microfluidic devices today, there are essentially little fingers or pressure forces that open and close each individual valve to route fluid through the device during experiments. That is, there is an extra layer of control machinery that is required to manipulate the current in the fluidic circuit,"
Bobak Mosadegh, a doctoral student in Takayama's lab who is first author of the paper, said "We've made a versatile control system," adding "We envision that this technology will become a platform for researchers and companies in the microfluidics field to develop sophisticated self-controlled microfluidic devices that automatically process biofluids such as blood and pharmaceuticals for diagnostics or other applications. Just as the integrated circuit brought the digital information processing power of computers to the people, we envision our microfluidic analog will be able to do the same for cellular and biochemical information."