Initiative to Promote Commercial Uptake of Microfluidic Devices

International Microfluidic Consortium driving Standardization Activities for Solutions in Healthcare, Environmental Applications, and Beyond

Cambridge, United Kingdom, (PresseBox) - The industrial and consumer use of microfluidic solutions in components and instruments is hampered by the lack of standardized interconnects. Just as mobile electronics was enabled by standardized interconnects like USB and Bluetooth, general adoption of microfluidics will only be possible with an agreement on standardized interconnects between chips and systems. Clearly, microfluidics is even more diverse than electronics, so one size fits all and different applications will need different classes of interconnect.

The MF-3 Microfluidic Consortium (a group of companies including SonyDADC, Philips, ST-Microelectronics, Biocartis, Dolomite and Micronit) was aware of how this fragmentation was slowing market uptake and decided to act. As a first step it divided the needed interconnect schemes into three groups:

1) Higher temperature/pressure interconnects for research, analytical and process instruments based on reusable chips.
2) Chips holders including microfluidic and electrical and/or optical interconnects for analytical and process instruments based on reusable chips.
3) Interconnects for disposable chips for health care and diagnostics.

At the consortium's recent meeting in Milan a draft proposal for higher temperature/ pressure interconnects was accepted and is planned to be published shortly. Multinational and SME Members of the MF3 consortium have put forward suggestions for addressing a variety of applications for microfluidic interconnects.

The MF3 consortium is now calling for further expressions of user requirements for microfluidic interconnects. The consortium's work seeking to address such key needs in a standardized manner will grow the market for microfluidic enabled solutions. These proposals will be discussed in workshops organized by the Consortium later in this year.

About the MF3 Microfluidics Consortium

The MF3 Microfluidics Consortium brings together stakeholders from all parts of the value chain with a shared interest in growing the market for microfluidics enabled solutions to 'Grand Challenges' in healthcare, environment and beyond. One of its activities is to promote standards, platform solutions and interoperability. This collaborative approach will ultimately drive down costs to end users and drive up volumes. It helps its members to engage with key stakeholders such as regulators, patent offices and procurement agencies as well as stimulating commercial opportunities. The consortium was launched in June 2008 and is open for further members world-wide.

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