In only a decade, microfluidics has become one of the most promising disciplines, able to « change the world » according to MIT’s Technology Review. It already involves tens of thousands of scientists and engineers in the world. There are two hundred startups created in the area, and about six hundred industrial users. The microfluidics market is valued at $ 6 billion annually with a growth rate of around 15% (source: BCC Research, 2013). This market covers many areas and fields of applications such as in situ diagnostic tests, pharmaceutical and biotechnology research, medical devices, industrial or environmental analysis tools.
Microfluidics is the science of manipulating fluids at the micrometer scale. This burgeoning area of research is inspired by nature that has already mastered these techniques perfectly. Researchers follow its tracks to produce devices containing micrometric flows. Microfluidic systems include a set of miniaturized components, allowing the study and analysis of chemical and biological samples.
For biology and chemistry, microfluidics represents a revolution similar to what happened for electronics and computing with the rise of microprocessors. It brings undeniable benefits in terms of cost reductions in industrial processes, portability, simplicity, efficiency and time savings. It is characterized by an explosive growth of innovations and publications in the field. The number of industrial applications is considerable: health, energy, green chemistry, cosmetics, food processing …
The BCC analyst firm says it will revolutionize chemistry and biology. Its fields of application are extremely varied, from printer heads to rapid analysis systems.