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What is microfluidics?[edit | edit source]

Microfluidics is the science of fluid flows at the microscopic scale.

Microfluidics mainly deals with artificial systems, but is present in numerous natural systems:

  • Trees: ascent of sap in xylem conduits in the trunk (conduit diameter around 30 micrometers), and in leaves (diameter around 50 nanometers).
  • Inside us: capillary blood vessels transport liquid (diameter 8 micrometer), lungs pump air in small alveola.

Why do we care?[edit | edit source]

Head of an ink jet printer

Microfluidic is involved in present applications:

  • Top one: ink-jet printer

Starting applications with a promising market are:

  • medical implants (injection of drugs from an embedded pump)
  • Lab-on-a-chip: miniature lab to perform biological test such as proteomics, or chemical analysis/synthesis of very exothermic reactions

For research purposes, it provides miniature devices to study small objects.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

The interested reader will find useful information by consulting the following books and review paper.

  • Tabeling, P (2006). Introduction to Microfluidics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-856864-9.
  • Bruus, Henrik (2008). Theoretical Microfluidics. Oxford University Press. ISBN-13 978-0199235094.
  • Squires, T. M. & Quake, S. R. (2005) Microfluidics: Fluid physics at the nanoliter scale, Review of Modern Physics, vol. 77, page 977

History of this book[edit | edit source]

This book was started May 19th 2008 by Philippe Marmottant CNRS researcher at Grenoble University, France, with the help of Danièle Centanni for the illustrations.