Researchers at BYU 3D-print a “lab on a chip” device

A 3D-printed microfluidic device

Researchers at BYU are the first to 3D-print a viable microfluidic device small enough to be effective at a scale much less than 100 μm. Microfluidic devices are tiny chips that can sort out disease biomarkers, cells and other small structures in samples like blood by using microscopic channels incorporated into the devices.

The accomplishment, which is a major breakthrough toward mass-producing the medical diagnostic devices cheaply, is detailed in the latest issue of the academic journal Lab on a Chip.

Researchers say they are laying the foundation for 3D printing to challenge the dominance of conventional methods — soft lithography and hot embossing — of microfluidic prototyping and development.

To that end, researchers Nordin, a BYU electrical engineering professor, and Adam Woolley, a BYU chemistry professor, have just submitted a proposal to the National Institutes of Health to develop the approach in this paper for preterm birth prediction.