May 19, 2011 — The MF3 Microfluidics Consortium, which includes Philips, STMicroelectronics (STM) and others, recognizes a need for standards in how microfluidic chips are connected to systems. Since microfluidics perform diverse tasks, three main interconnect types were identified: high temperature/pressure, electrical/optical interconnects to chip holders, and disposable chip interconnects. The consortium will first tackle high-temperature/pressure.
The MF-3 Microfluidic Consortium comprises a group of companies including SonyDADC, Philips, ST-Microelectronics, Biocartis, Dolomite and Micronit.
The industrial and consumer use of microfluidic solutions in components and instruments is hampered by the lack of standardized interconnects, says the MF-3 Microfluidic Consortium. General adoption of microfluidics will only be possible with an agreement on standardized interconnects between chips and systems.
Microfluidics are more diverse than conventional electronics and different applications will need different classes of interconnect. Multinational and SME Members of the MF3 consortium have put forward suggestions for addressing a variety of applications for microfluidic interconnects. The MF-3 Microfluidic Consortium has divided the requisite interconnect schemes into three groups:
- Higher temperature/pressure interconnects for research, analytical and process instruments based on reusable chips.
- Chip holders including microfluidic and electrical and/or optical interconnects for analytical and process instruments based on reusable chips.
- 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 will be published shortly.
The MF3 consortium is now calling for further expressions of user requirements for microfluidic interconnects. These proposals will be discussed in workshops organized by the Consortium later this year.
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 challenges in healthcare, environment and beyond. The consortium was launched in June 2008 and is open for further members worldwide. For more information, visit www.microfluidicsinfo.com