These permit biological and chemical analyses to be carried out more swiftly and easily. Furthermore these systems can be used to conduct diagnostic tests, which previously have only been possible in the laboratory.
Now an international consortium spearheaded by the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen, Germany, has come together with the aim of ensuring the possibility to manufacture these systems cost-effectively in the future.
The combination of micro-fluidic, micro-electronic and micro-optical systems opens up new horizons for biomedical research and creates new markets for medical engineering applications. However, the high manufacturing costs coupled with a lack of standards, have so far prevented this type of system from gaining a strong foothold in the market. The main problem is the lack of methods suitable for manufacturing lab-on-a chip systems on an industrial scale. A number of microfluidic elements have also proved to be at least partially incompatible with conventional laboratory equipment.
Susanne Krause | Fraunhofer-Institut
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