3rd Year Project - Design of a microfluidic device

timing: Easter term, 4 weeks, Tuesdays 9-11am, and Fridays 11-1pm plus afternoons

module leader: Alexandre Kabla (ajk61)


Microfluidic devices are designed to perform high throughput chemical, physical and biological analysis on small volumes of fluids. This technology is particularly important for biological and biomedical applications where compounds to analyse are often only available in minute quantities, and where there is a need for large scale automation of sequential processes. Typical applications in life sciences are flow cytometry, DNA analysis, cell manipulation and separation, with an increasing use for clinical diagnostics.

These devices typically involve a large array of micron size channels, mixers, sensors and switches that can be integrated in fluidic circuits, often called "lab-on-a-chip" . The development of such devices is highly multi-disciplinary, with a strong engineering component.

During this project, the students will design a device that mixes fluids and creates micro-droplets, eventually acting as small reactors that can be physically sorted as a function of their chemical content.

see external link: official syllabus at the Teaching Office website


  • Development: Project skills, technical skills and initiative - 20 marks
  • Individual report: 4pm Thursday 23 May 2013 - 30 marks
  • Team report: 4pm Friday 7 June 2013 - 30 marks


external link: Handouts

external link: Risk Assessment Form

material safety datasheets (MSDS):


references cited in handouts:

external link: [1] Monia Baker, Clever PCR: more genotyping, smaller volumes , Nature Methods, 7:353, 2010.

external link: [2] Samuel K. Sia George M. Whitesides, Microfluidic devices fabricated in poly(dimethylsiloxane) for biological studies, Electrophoresis 24:3563, 2003.

external link: [3] Todd M. Squires Stephen R. Quake, Microfluidics: Fluid physics at the nanoliter scale, Reviews of Modern Physics, 77:977, 2005.

external link: [4] Chien-Chong Hong, Jin-Woo Choi Chong H. Ahn, A novel in-plane passive microfluidic mixer with modified Tesla structures, Lab Chip 4:109, 2004.

external link: [5] Remi Dreyfus, Patrick Tabeling Herve Willaime, Ordered and Disordered Patterns in Two-Phase Flows in Microchannels, Physical Review Letters 90:144505, 2003.

additional references:

external link: [6] Nicolae Damean, Luis F. Olguin, Florian Hollfelder, Chris Abella and Wilhelm T. S. Huck, Simultaneous measurement of reactions in microdroplets filled by concentration gradients