Lab on a chip is a gadget that is used to incorporate single or numerous laboratory functions on to an integrated circuit known as a chip.
It is a technology that allows the procedures that are undertaken in the laboratory by analyzing chemicals to be done using a compact device.
By the use of the lab on a chip technology, there are many advantages that come with it.
With this technology, you are able to carry out analysis of your samples in your location simply and easily instead of having to transfer the samples to a bigger laboratory for the same analysis to be done.
Due to this, there can be a difference in the fluid dynamics.
However, it is only on a very small scale.
As a result, doing the analysis in your location helps control the movement and interference of the samples.
Therefore, the reactions will tend to be more efficient thereby getting accurate results.
Other than the many challenges that come with the development of the “lab on a chip” devices, the main one is designing and fabricating them on a small scale that can be functional and cost saving.
However, in the recent past, there has been a possibility due to advanced materials and techniques to do with micro and nanofabrication.
Lab on a cheap combines numerous technological sectors.
However, the main areas of technology that combine all of them and enable the whole project to work are the nanofluidics and microfluidics.
Microfluidics is the management of how the small quantities of fluids are able to flow inside the channels that are measured in micrometers.
On the other hand, nanofluidics enhances the process; it handles the progression of specific macro-molecules that are in the solution.
This is the most important area of this project that one has to understand and commercialize when developing functional devices that can be used for the “lab on a chip” activities.
How Lab on Chips Work
The microfluidics sector developed majorly because of the reliable and accurate analytical techniques that were used.
Such was like the high-performance liquid chromatography and the capillary electrophoresis.
With the use of these techniques, true and precise results from samples in small sizes were achieved.
The use of these methods shows positive progress.
As a result, it was a good idea to take a step ahead to implement the practices in a compact way as much as possible.
The lab on a chip technology contains sensing capabilities.
This is because of the optical and the electrochemia sensors that are installed inside the chip.
Other than that, there is also the micro-total analysis system whose main function is to integrate and reduce the chemistry assays in the analysis.
With the lab on a chip technology, you can be able to attain a high-quality screening and automation.
The lab on a chip technology has its attention on the application of these practices in the diagnostics sector; for instance, using the technology in diagnostic devices that are found in the medical offices and other places that have no ability to access the lab and its equipment.
Other than that, life sciences, as well as medicine, have the ability to put this technology into practice.
This is because it can be used in the protein crystallization as well as DNA/RNA sequencing.
In addition, some engineers came to a conclusion that the lab on a chip device is cost efficient in relation to lab tests linked to HIV, Lyme disease, and syphilis.
This is because the device is capable of using tiny volumes of the fluid for the biochemical analyses.
Mostly, by the use of lab equipment, large amounts of fluids like blood would be needed.
Again, the expensive chemical reagents would be required in the same amounts which would be very costly.
Moreover, chemical compounds from the use of such techniques as positron emission tomography can be used in the “lab on a chip” experiments since their samples are compressed to the size of a single cell.
Advantages of “lab on a chip” technology
This technology enables you to undertake your analysis by using small amounts of fluid and the results tend to be reasonable and accurate.
As a result, it is cost saving since it does not require large quantities of samples.
It also takes a short time to get the results.
More so, with the use of small volumes of fluid, you can take control over the concentration and interaction of the samples.
Due to this, there will be a reduction in the waste of chemicals.
Through mass production, the lab on a chip technology helps develop efficient systems to be used for analysis.
Disadvantages of “lab on a chip” technology
There are physical and chemical effects that are of importance when it comes to the micro-scale level that the lab on a cheap technology operates on.
These effects are roughness of the surface, capillary forces and the chemical interactions that occur between the materials.
As a result of this, there arise complications which would not have been there in case the analyses were done with the use of the lab equipment.
Further, there is the principle of detection which, in line with the lab on a chip, might not agree with the microscale dynamics which may cause low signal-to-noise ratio.
Due to the fact that the lab on a chip technology can use only 10 percent of the samples to obtain efficient and accurate results, it goes a long way in the medical and other related fields since it promotes research since it carries out complex biochemical analyses by itself.
In addition, the device automatically performs the activities that could use skilled labor in the lab and the outcomes are always sensitive and reliable.
This lab on a chip technology is time and cost saving.
Due to this, its market is growing and sooner than you know, this practice will dominate the future medical sectors such as diagnosis and treatment.
Despite the fact that building this device is a big challenge, especially when commercializing the technology, its success has been demonstrated since a few “lab on a chip” based systems have been introduced to the market.