Lab On Chip processes can be managed using programming methods; this is known as digital micro fluidics. Note that micro fluidics is another name given to LOC processes because of the minute volumes of fluids which are involved. You can manipulate the fluids on a digital chip using electric fields; this ensures that complicated operations can take place on a LOC. Digital micro fluidics provides the distinction of chips that have no moving parts and no channels; all fluids must move around with the use of electric fields.
This digital LOC is useful for researchers who need flexibility from their LOC processes, as well as high degrees of accuracy.
So how does all this affect real life? It is all fine and dandy that some super geeks somewhere are building laboratories that move fluids amounting to less than a drop of sweat on their bodies on a surface that takes up less space than a pea. But so what? We will delve deeply into the medical applications of these nano devices. But first let's look at how these incredibly small laboratories are made.
How to Make Little Structures
There are no prizes for guessing how they make the little chips. They are not made by Intel or VIA or Advanced Micro Devices. They are made by being printed, through the process of lithography or etching, from metal plates. Impressions are printed onto silicon or glass plates. Glass is used because it is cheaper and easier to produce and still performs the processes required. Electro plating and embossing are also processes that are used in making Lab On Chip devices. LOC fabrication is an illustration of precision engineering on a nano technology scale.
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