Microfluidics has wide applications in life sciences (pharmaceutical, personalized medicine and point of care) and other areas such as environmental, analytical and agro-food. However, the adoption of microfluidic technology into mainstream biology research and commercial markets has not matched the initial enthusiasm for lab on a chip technology. Apart from reasons of lack of killer applications, issues of integration, finance and regulation, one of the most probable reasons is the much higher cost compared with the existing technologies. Mass production technologies of plastic microfluidic chips are becoming critical to translate the laboratory prototype to clinical trials and eventual commercialization. With the increasing complexity of microfluidic chips, it requires many process steps for the fabrication of plastic chips, such as design, prototyping, optimization, micro tool fabrication, precision replication, surface treatment, integration of sensors, reagent and electrodes. Plastic materials have been well used in industry as one of the major materials for mass production of the microfluidic cartridge.

In this talk, Dr. Nan Zhang will discuss the scale-up challenges of translating laboratory microfluidic assay into clinical and mass production stage. Highlights will be given to recent progress of microfluidic standardization, design specifications of plastic chip, precision fabrication of micro/nano mould tools, precision replication based on micro injection moulding, and precision bonding processes. He will also share some experience of translating laboratory microfluidic prototypes to plastic chips in the scale-up stage for clinical trials.

Date:                 3 Aug 2021 (Thuesday)
Time:                 4:30 - 5:30 pm (HKT)

Speaker:            Dr. Nan Zhang 

                           Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Manufacturing

                           and Design, School of Mechanical and

                           Materials Engineering,

                           University College Dublin