Lab-on-a-chip: principle, technology and applications

Graça Minas
Center for MicroElectromechanical Systems (CMEMS-UMinho)
Universidade do Minho
Campus de Azurém, Guimarães 4800-058, Portugal

Lab-on-a-chip (a laboratory of clinical analysis on a chip) has played, over recent decades, a significant role in biomedical, pharmaceutical, and environmental monitoring applications. Particularly, since the fluidic microsystems technologies for diagnosis applications tend to produce low-cost devices with low power consumption, they have an extremely enhanced potential for being used as point-of-care devices, for the detection and quantification of several biomolecules in physiological fluids, as well as for determining fluid properties. These miniaturized systems have been designed to operate as analytical devices able to perform all the required processes of a sample analysis: manipulation, transport, and control of fluid samples, as well as detection and readout electronics.

This presentation approached the microtechnologies, microfluidics, miniaturization and on-chip integration of optical detection to perform a complete lab-on-a-chip device, focusing on the background and advantages of the different techniques, as well as their disadvantages and challenges for diagnosis applications. Additionally, it included an overview of different applications towards point-of-care devices for biological fluids analysis that were performed in the Lab-on-a-chip group at CMEMS-UMinho, specially, Lab-on-a-chip for salivary cortisol monitoring, Lab-on-a-chip for phytoplankton identification and quantification, Lab-on-a-chip for seawater pH determination, and Lab-on-a-chip for cells deformability.