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Microfluidics: standards to promote R&D

​Leti, a CEA Tech institute, is coordinating the development of ISO standards for microfluidics. The goal is to speed up research and development in a field where design rules are often proprietary and empirical.

Published on 28 August 2018

Microfluidics is all about the control and manipulation of very tiny amounts of fluid in miniaturized systems. While the concept is simple, microfluidics systems require the development of functions like micro-channels, chambers, and pumps as well as reliable, sealed connections to other equipment. The majority of R&D teams develop their own functions and connections—something that can be both time-consuming and costly. Leti, a CEA Tech institute, hopes to speed up R&D by creating ISO standards and certifications for microfluidics.

Leti's involvement in standards dates back to 2013, when the institute participated in the MFManufacturing1 project, which aimed to bring the fabrication of microfluidics systems to the same level of maturity and industrial readiness as electronic systems by standardizing fluid interconnections and design rules, in particular. Nicolas Verplanck, microfluidics project manager at Leti and recent member of French standards organization AFNOR, was elected in May 2018 to lead the development of European (CEN) and international (ISO) standards. When the MFManufacturing project ended, an international microfluidics federation with around a hundred members from academia and industry was set up with the purpose of providing the ISO working group with recommendations for the future standards.

Ultimately, standardizing microfluidics will bring manufacturing companies the tools they need to give their R&D teams reliable, low-cost, off-the-shelf products so that they can focus on high-added-value functions such as those found in labs-on-chip, organs-on-chip, bedside diagnostic devices, and in solutions for the environmental and security industries.

1MFManufacturing was an EU initiative financed by the ENIAC Joint Undertaking (Europe Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyser and Computer) from 2014 to 2017.

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