The lab-on-chip concept has created miniature devices for the study of phenomena and the performance of tasks in physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine. But lab-on-chip devices can deliver more than just a miniaturization of conventional laboratory methods; rather, effects that scale favorably at micrometer dimensions can be exploited for simplified operation and reduced cost.
We present several examples, including the manipulation of multiple droplets in parallel on “texture gradients” and “texture ratchets”, which use vibration as driving force; and the extraction of DNA from raw samples in “microfluidic origami”, which rely on capillarity and folding instead of pumps and valves.
Karl F. Böhringer is Professor of EE and BioE, and the director of the Microfabrication Facility at the University of Washington, Seattle. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Cornell University. He was a visiting scholar at the Stanford Robotics Lab and Transducer Lab and a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, before joining the faculty at the University of Washington. He received an NSF postdoctoral associateship in 1997, an NSF CAREER award in 1999, and was an NSF New Century Scholar in 2000. His work was featured among the Top 100 Science Stories in Discover Magazine’s 2002 “Year in Science”. In 2004, he received the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Academic Early Career Award and a sabbatical fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Since 2010, he holds the John M. Fluke Distinguished Chair in Engineering at the Univ of Washington. He is a member of the editorial board of the ASME/IEEE Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems and the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. He was co-chair of the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Microelectromechanical Systems.