Microfluidics has myriad uses in today’s world: it can be found in medical applications (including the now-familiar COVID-19 self-test), in research (for example, in flow cytometry and cell sorting), or in more generic measurements and detection (such as simple pH measurement strips). The benefits are as diverse as the applications, but size is usually a key factor.
In general, microfluidics allows you to use a very small quantity of fluid – which is good news when working with expensive or finite samples. In addition, microfluidic devices are typically smaller than other devices, making them easily portable. Controlling flow is also usually easier with microfluidics than with large volumes of fluids, adding to the preciseness of the application and helping to mitigate the effects of mass transport limitation.
On the other hand, because of their small size, the microchannels in microfluidic devices are prone to clogging. The risk is especially high when there are large and/or sticky particles in the flow – for example, with fluids like 100% whole blood or undiluted serum and plasma, cell supernatant, cell membrane preps, virus-like particles (VLPs), liposomes, viscous detergents, DMSO, and acetonitrile.
To overcome this challenge, Malvern Panalytical developed the Creoptix WAVEsystem: a solution that measures binding kinetics using no-clog microfluidics. Our solution has been designed to work with a broad range of sample types to preserve activity and biological context, saving time by cutting out detrimental purification steps, and reducing the risk of clogging that could take other systems offline.