Chemical and Biological Microsystems - What Are the Advantages of Small Systems?
Jensen, Klavs F.
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Microfabrication techniques have fueled spectacular advances in the electronic and telecommunications industries, and more recently, in microanalysis chips for chemical and biological applications. These systems promise to transform classical laboratory procedures into integrated systems capable of providing new understanding of fundamental chemical and biological processes as well as rapid, continuous discovery and development of new products with less use of resources and waste generation. Chemical microsystems combine microfluidic channels, chemical-synthesis-on-a chip, and microscale separation to enable multiple synthesis and separation steps, which are further enhanced by information gained from integrating miniaturized sensors and actuators. Biological studies are similarly accelerated by the integration of fluid handling, separation, and detection. Applications of chemical and biological microsystems are illustrated with case studies drawn from chemical synthesis, energy conversion, synthesis of nano structure, and cellular analysis. Advantages and challenges of implementing miniaturized chemical and biological systems are discussed, including future potentials of these technologies.