An entire laboratory at the size of a credit card

An entire laboratory at the size of a credit card

Just as microelectronics has given us computers and smartphones, the technology of microfluidics promises to give us personalised diagnostics tools, ubiquitous sensors for food and water quality, and new ways to deliver drugs, among many other possibilities.

Microelectronic chips combine the function of many transistors and diodes and thus constitute powerful tools for computations. Likewise, microfluidic chips combine many functions of a chemical laboratory and allow us to control tiny amounts of chemical solutions to perform assays, reactions, separations and many other (bio)chemical processes on a very small scale. This is just like having an entire laboratory sitting in the palm of your hand, and that is why such systems are often called lab-on-a-chip systems.

Imagine moving solutions through channels as thin as a human hair - interesting things happen on such a length scale. Water behaves almost like honey, streams go alongside each other like colored stripes in toothpaste, and cells can be manipulated one by one for investigation. I will explain some of the underlying principles and show how these devices can help us to better understand diseases, make new therapies possible, and reduce animal tests of new pharmaceuticals.

Kort og godt

Emne

Naturvidenskab
Teknologi og Innovation
Krop og Sundhed

Målgruppe

Voksne
Unge
Skoleklasser

Varighed

ca. 30 min

Forsker

Jörg P. Kutter

Ansættelsessted

Københavns Universitet

Titel

Professor