A path to standardization in microfluidics: transforming challenges into opportunities for a universal tool
The increased technical capability required to miniaturise devices along with the growing need for faster, more accessible, and cost-effective solutions for precision analytical tools has led to the rapid and continuous growth of microfluidics in diverse sectors (e.g. pharmaceutical and biomedical industries). However, microfluidics and specifically the control of fluids in microfluidic devices still lacks universal solutions and standards. Standardisation of performance characteristics is needed for the different classes of microfluidic components, including test conditions, measurement protocols and guidelines.
So far, quality production of microfluidic devices has been established mainly based on the manufacturer’s expertise, without reliance on well-established calibration procedures or standards that could have streamlined and accelerated production. Despite the expected impact of microfluidics (societal, health, well-being, environment), success stories are rare in comparison with the number of laboratorial developments. The main reason is the gap between laboratory microfluidic devices (home-made chips and connections, customised test protocols, materials not compatible with high volume production, etc.) and a reliable and reproducible product.
The presentation highlights our work on this topic and addresses issues, challenges, strategies and opportunities in standardization in microfluidics.