Promising Lab-on-a-Chip(LOC) Device
Promising Lab-on-a-Chip(LOC) Device
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  • 승인 2013.03.06 19:12
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Prof. Dong-Pyo, Kim ( CE )

What inspired you to carry out this research?
The motivation of my research on new material based lab-on-a-chip (LOC) device came from strong limitation of the current microreactor systems in terms of materials and fabrication: low stability of silicone rubber but facile fabrication, durable glass / Silicon(Si) / stainless steel devices but high manufacturing cost. And there has been strong demand for easy fabrication and durable LOC devices that combine advantages of plastic and glass chips.
What were the main challenges you had to overcome?
The main challenge to achieve the desired LOC device using inorganic preceramic polymers was to develop the microchannel bonding step and the tubing connection of LOC device with no leaking. The system integration by assembling components using various techniques was not easy but a very interesting experience for a material researcher. 
Can you summarize the benefits of your microreactors over current systems?
In contrast to current plastic, Si, and glass LOC, inorganic polymers, polyimide film and fluoropolymer as new material sources that have not been used as microfluidic devices offers easy fabrication with no required sophisticated facilities. Also this innovative development enables researchers to design and manufacture the wanted microreactor systems in a do-it-yourself manner. Synthetic chemists and chemical engineers can facilitate in conducting the related R&D activities using LOC systems by a simple training step. Therefore, it is promising to broaden the microreactor systems in the area of chemistry and related processes, as plastic chips have been widely used in academic and industries in biology and biomedical fields.
Can you expand on why the microreactors should be cheap to manufacture? How easy would it be to set up a manufacturing process using new microreactor devices?
Compared to conventional flask and batch reactors, continuous flow microreactors offer numerous “advantages,” which include higher reaction yield with selectivity, energy efficiency, safety, better control on process, etc. But, one of the major merits in the microreaction technology is for production of small amount but high-valued materials under reduced process cost. Due to higher cost of fabrication and limited durability of materials, overall cost of setting up microreactor facility is not that cost effective yet compared to pilot scale plant construction cost. Economic and reliable microreactor systems are more cost effective and take full advantage of the technology in cases of academic and industrial setup.
How do you hope to develop this work in the future?
In terms of the hardware system, user-friendly microreactor device needs to be developed for meeting new and strong demands in various areas. Also, innovative fabrication techniques by adapting new materials and surface functionalization would be targeted for developing various production scales of applications. Unique processing technologies also should be thoroughly developed to replace current explosive, toxic and hazardous chemical processes. Alternatively, they could be combined with current processes. Furthermore, we challenge other fields such as biotechnology engineering apart from applications in chemical sciences by exploring the biomass and reforming fuel involved processes under high temperature and high pressure conditions.