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What is microfluidics?[edit]

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]

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.


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]

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.