Lab-on-a-chip technology integrates one or several laboratory functions on a single integrated circuit (commonly called a "chip") of only millimeters to a few square centimeters to achieve automation and high-throughput screening. LOCs can handle extremely small fluid volumes down to less than pico liters. Lab-on-a-chip devices are a subset of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) devices and sometimes called "micro total analysis systems" (µTAS). LOCs may use microfluidics, the physics, manipulation and study of minute amounts of fluids. However, strictly regarded "lab-on-a-chip" indicates generally the scaling of single or multiple lab processes down to chip-format, whereas "µTAS" is dedicated to the integration of the total sequence of lab processes to perform chemical analysis. The term "lab-on-a-chip" was introduced when it turned out that µTAS technologies were applicable for more than only analysis purposes.
The following research groups in the Max Planck Center work in this topic:
- BIOS Lab on a chip (University of Twente)
- Physics of Fluids group (University of Twente)
- Dynamics of Complex Fluids (Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen)
- Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics, Pattern Formation and Biocomplexity (Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen)