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Microfluidics Application: Flow Cytometry and ADVANTAGES

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / flow cytometry, Lab on a Chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Flow Cytometer based on Microfluidics and the positive advantages

Flow Cytometer based on Microfluidics and the positive advantagesmicrofluidic microchannels

Flow Cytometry : Advantages of using Microfluidics

Positive aspects about Flow Cytometer based on Microfluidics:

1. To have a high purity and recovery for the sorted cell population.
2. To sort based on an intracellular characteristic in which magnetic beads would not have access.
3. To sort cell labelled with fluorescent probes for nuclear or other intracellular targets.
4. To have information about cell surface molecules.
5. To sort different receptors even if they are low in density.
6. To sort cells according to absence, density or presence of the receptors.


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Microfluidics Application: What is Flow Cytometry?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / flow cytometry, Lab on a Chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Flow cytometry is a laser-based technology

Flow cytometry is a laser-based technology used in cell counting, cell sorting, biomarker detection or protein engineering

Flow Cytometry using Microfluidics

Flow cytometry is a laser-based technology used in cell counting, cell sorting, biomarker detection or protein engineering.

By suspending cells and passing these suspending cells by passing them using an electronic detection machine, flow cytometry is done.

This technique allows making simultaneous analysis of the different characteristics of the more than a thousand particles per second.
This technique is usually used in the diagnosis of health disorders, in most of the cases blood cancers, but it is used in many medical trials, such as to sort particles according to their properties or purify populations of interest.



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Microfluidics Technologies: What is CNC MICROMACHINING?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidics, micromachining / No hay comentarios

CNC Micromachining piece for Microfluidics

CNC Micromachining piece for Microfluidics: recent developments in microfabrication enables the integration of hard and soft structures

Microfluidic Manufacturing Technique: CNC Micromachining

CNC Micromachining is defined as the removal of material at micro level.

During the last year the interest over the micro machining technology has increased.

Due to this, every manufacturing and industry segment has started to work, segments such as aerospace, automotive world or medical appliances.

Even , nowadays,  there are still several technical challenges the potential for product miniaturization continues to grow.
The micromachining technologies involves to work with features smaller than 0,001”, that is why, it is necessary to work with accuracy in the 0,0001” or less range, using always cutters smaller than 1/8 or about 3mm. It takes significant speed to effectively use such small-diameter tools, and the machines have to be, as said before, very accurate.

Taking into account the microfluidic field of technology, we can say that micromachining can be used in this field, because recent developments in microfabrication enables the integration of hard and soft structures, making possible to control the microfluidic systems structures. This structures can be applied to drug delivery.

Moreover, there is a manufacturing method which involves laser micromachining for the structure of microfluidic channels in a thin metallic sheet.

It is important to say that some polymers are better to use over silicone when building microfluidic devices because they have biocompatible properties as well as cheapness. Also, using micromachining it is possible to make fewer processing steps than using the conventional way.





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Microfluidic Event: microLIQUID in BIOSPAIN 2016 in Bilbao – 28th to 30th Sept

Posted By Borja Barredo / News / biotechnology, Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip / No hay comentarios

biospain 2016 Forum

biospain 2016 in Bilbao in September

Microfluidic Event in Spain

BIOSPAIN 2016 is the largest biotechnology meeting   organized by a national association of bioindustry in Europe (ASEBIO).

Also the international approach with 34% of delegates attending from outside of Spain and fully business oriented. Is one of the largest Forum in the world with more than 850 companies coming and in one to one meetings, over 3.000 every edition.

The meeting will be in Bilbao, in the Bilbao Exhibition Center from the 28th to the 30th of September and here you can find the schedule/program: http://www.biospain2016.org/Program

microLIQUID will be there with  one stand, within the  Biobasque pavilion  where we will show our  latest developments and services. It is a great opportunity to meet and explain our capabilities for the market.

Options for collaboration/partnering:

  1. microLIQUID develops and manufactures disposable & systems based in microfluidics for analysis/diagnostic companies to enable the automation, portability and increased added value of their assays and tests. Main markets are: POC IVD,Drug delivery,Veterinarian,Food industry.
  2. microLIQUID works in an OEM basis allowing our customer to improve the characteristics of their analysis/diagnostic kit, adding automation and portability as features turning the analysis kits used in the central laboratory in a point of care/point of use device with a low investment.
  3. Turn-key projects transforming test and assay into point of care, form the idea to final mass production of disposable and system is done with microLIQUID in our manufacturing facilities.

For more information: info@microliquid.com



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Microfluidics Application: Point of Care Devices

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

point of care and detection systems based in microfluidics

microLIQUID develops and manufactures point of care and detection systems based in microfluidics

Microfluidics Application: Point of Care Devices

Our aim is to provide portable diagnostic tools to ensure rapid, affordable and simple analysis in many scenarios of our society (hospitals, airports, doctor’s practice, roadside police controls, natural environment etc).

However, conventional analytical methods often require a large volume of sample and complicated time-consuming protocols.
The more portable ones are based on slow immunochromatographic strips or low-sensitivity electrochemical detection systems, whereas desktop systems are sensitive and semi-automatic but bulky and heavy.
microLIQUID tries to improve quality of life and medical services through the development of quick diagnostic devices that will carry out sample preparation and detection reducing the incidence of current society threats.

Our idea is to create intelligent and portable systems across many sectors for efficient treatment(environment monitoring, health, food , veterinary), by integrating cost-efficiently manufactured Lab-on-a-Chips.

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What is Microfluidics?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

What is Microfluidics: a microscale piece of fine art

What is Microfluidics – Fine Art at microscale

Microfluidics: Characteristics

Microfluidics deals with the behaviour, precise control and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small (typically sub-millimetre) scale. This kind of research and work involves the usage of different technologies, components and materials, witch are key factors in microfluidic area.

Microfluidics common features

Usually, micro means one of the following features:

  • Small volumes.
  • Small size.
  • Low energy consumption.
  • Effects of the micro domain.

Microfluidics is a multidisciplinary field intersecting engineering, physics, chemistry, microtechnology and biotechnology, with practical applications to the design of systems in which such small volumes of fluids will be used. Microfluidic area emerged in the beginning of the 1980s and is used in the development of inkjet printheads, DNA chips,lab on a chip technology, micro-propulsion, and micro-thermal technologies.

In this field microLIQUID develops and produces from the simplest microfluidic chip to complex microfluidic devices.

Our manufacture process allows us to integrate different designs and devices in a wafer, reducing time and cost of manufacturing.

microLIQUID offers standard microfluidic products ( microfluidic chips and encapsulate) and develop customized microfluidic structures and chip holders (connectors).


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Microfluidics Manufacturing: What is Photolitography?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Photolitography process in microfluidics

MASK ALIGNER: Photolitography process in microfluidics

Microfluidics Manufacturing: Photolitography technique

Photolitography is manufacturing process commonly used in microfluidics.

When it comes to  challenging microfluidic arquitectures such as interdigitated electrodes(<10µ), high aspect ratio channels and small features this is a much more precise technique for the fabrication. It  uses UV light to transfer a geometric pattern from a Cromium (<10µ) or acetate(>10µ) photomask with very high dimensional resolution

This manufacturing process can transfer these patterned structures to a wafer made of Silicon, Quartz, Glass, Polymers or even Metals.

The alignment of the photomask is a crucial process and is done with a mask aligner for accurate results.

The photolitography, when using the light, only allows to create rectangular or square channels, as the “attack” comes from the upper side and is straight(90º).

Also is used for manufacturing of molds for PDMS casting or hot embossing.



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Microfluidic Chips: Thermoplastic Material Cyclic olefin polymer COP

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Microfluidic Chips: Thermoplastic Material Cyclic olefin polymer COP

Cyclic olefin polymer COP is an amorphous polyolefin with a cyclic structure in the main chain.

The following figure shows the polymerization scheme and polymer structures:

COP general synthesis process

COP general synthesis process

According to it, COP is polymerized by Ring Opening Metathesis Polymerization of norbornene derivatives, followed by hydrogenation of double bonds that provides more stability in terms of heat and weather resistance.

Compared to other thermoplastics such as PP, PC, PS and LDPE, COP provides significantly improved moisture and vapor barrier properties

Water absorption values for some polymers widely used in microfluidics

Water absorption values for some polymers widely used in microfluidics


COP is a glass-like & UV transparent polymer, which exhibits excellent optical properties and performances which enable to get a higher optical signal quality for small complex parts, increase resolution and lower detection limits in fluorescence spectroscopy, as well as to get a high dimensional stability under a harsh and humid environment. This material exhibits high transparency (92% light transmittance).

COP offers extremely low fluorescence across the excitation/emission spectrum and has been proven to increase resolution and lower detection limits in fluorescence spectroscopy for in vitro and in vivo imaging.
COP absorbs virtually no moisture and shows no dimensional changes even under conditions of high temperature and humidity. Thanks to its low water absorption, the refractive index of COP remains constant after exposure to humid environments.


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Microfluidics Application: What is Real time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)?

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Microfluidics Application: Real time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)

Real time quantification during simultaneous amplification(PCR – Polymerase Chain Reaction) is enabled by gene-specific probes, that is, relatively short DNA strands binding specifically to the target sequence during the annealing step.

When the polymerase elongates the target sequence, it comes across the probe and digests it. Digestion of the probe disassociates two additional molecules that are bound to the probe. These molecules are the reporter dye and a quencher molecule. The reporter dye generates a fluorescence signal when it is stimulated by a light of a certain wavelength.

However, as long as it is bound to the primer together with the quencher molecule, the fluorescence signal is suppressed due to fluorescence energy transfer (FRET).

When the enzyme disassociates the reporter dye and quencher from the probe, the reporter dye is free to generate fluorescence signals that can be measured by photomultiplier diode. The digestion effect is irreversible thus leading to an increasing fluorescence signal the more probes are digested and amplicons are generated. The reaction mechanism for the real time PCR is shown in the following scheme:


PCR involved reactants and reaction mechanism

PCR involved reactants and reaction mechanism

The reporter dye is equipped with a fluorescence label that has a specific absorption and emission wavelength. By combination of labels with different emission spectra, real time multiplex PCR is enabled.
Fluorescence signals are measured as relative fluorescence units that can be normalized to a standard so that the relative change of fluorescence can be determined. This is how deviations due to variations in reporter dye concentration in the mixture or bleaching effects can be equilibrated.

Signal detection in a thermocycling device starts with a constant low fluorescent noise during the first thermocycles. At a certain amplification level, the fluorescence signal starts to increase exponentially. After a few further PCR cycles, the signal increases linearly and finally comes into saturation because the probes that are contained in the reaction mix are used up.

Real time amplification diagram

Real time amplification diagram. (1) Background fluorescence value (2) Exponential increase, (3) Linear growth (4) Saturation.

A high concentration of target DNA leads to an early signal amplification.

In contrast, little concentrations require more thermocycles to reach a certain threshold until their fluorescence signal is sufficiently detectable. Therefore, the sample concentrations can be discriminated by comparing the time points at which a defined fluorescence level is reached.

This threshold is plotted as a horizontal line in real-time graphs and this way, the respective threshold cycles (cT) can be easily compared and related to the initial concentrations at the sample.





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Microfluidic Chips: Thermoplastic materials

Posted By Borja Barredo / Technology Blog / Lab on a Chip, microfluidic chip, microfluidics / No hay comentarios

Thermoplastics for Microfluidic Chips

Polymers for Microfluidic Applications offer a broad range of attractive properties and have thus been considered for Lab-on-a-Chip systems since the late 90’s.

Common thermoplastics such as polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene terephtalate (PET), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC) or cyclic olefin (co)polymers (COC/COP) are widely available as monolayer foils.

Polymers consist of single macromolecules that are iteratively linked to each other forming constituting long chains. These chains are arranged in linear or branched fashion in the polymer matrix.

miicrofluidic solutions

Different microfluidic Chips in Thermoplastics

Knowledge on the temperature behaviour is important for polymer processing. Heating a polymer matrix induces energy that leads to breakage of secondary valences between adjacent polymer chains. Above certain temperature, these chains are free to slide along each other resulting in higher chain mobility and thus elasticity. The temperature required to soften the material is called glass transition temperature Tg.

Thermoplastics are a highly attractive substrate material for microfluidics systems, with important benefits in the development of low cost disposable devices for a host of bioanalytical applications.

Thermoplastics are a class of synthetic polymers which exhibit softening behavior above a characteristic glass transition temperature (Tg) resulting from a long-range motion of the polymer backbone, while returning to their original chemical state upon cooling. Thermoplastic polymers differ from elastomer or thermoset plastics by their ability to be softened or fully melted and reshaped upon heating, while remaining chemically and dimensionally stable over a wide range of operational temperatures and pressures.

More recently cyclic olefins (COC and COP) have emerged as highly attractive microfluidic materials, with high optical clarity into the deep-UV range (~250 nm), low water absorption, and exceptionally good resistance to solvents including organics such as acetonitrile commonly used in liquid chromatography.

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