Microfluidics is a new technology platform that deals with the behavior, precise control and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small, typically sub-millimeter, scale. Microfluidic and nanofluidic systems analyse by controlling the flow of liquids or gases through a series of tiny channels and valves, thereby sorting them, much as a computer circuit sorts data through wires and logic gates. Microfluidic channels, often etched into silicon, can be less than 100 nm wide. This allows them to handle biological materials such as DNA, proteins or cells in minute quantities – usually nano-liters or pico-liters (1000 times smaller than a nano-liter). Microfluidics not only enable very precise analysis, they also open up the potential for manipulation of living matter by mixing, separating and handling different components at the nanoscale.
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