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Mass producing pocket labs
Date:10/23/2013

This news release is available in German.

Ask anyone to imagine what a chemical analysis laboratory looks like, and most will picture the following scene: a large room filled with electrical equipment, extractor hoods and chemical substances, in which white-robed researchers are busy unlocking the secrets behind all sorts of scientific processes. But there are also laboratories of a very different kind, for instance labs-on-a-chip (LOCs). These "pocket labs" are able to automatically perform a complete analysis of even the tiniest liquid samples, integrating all the required functions onto a chip that's just a few centimeters long. Experts all over the world have developed many powerful LOC devices in recent years, but very few pocket labs have made it onto the market.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen want to find out why so many LOCs are not a commercial success. They are working with colleagues from polyscale GmbH & Co. KG, an IPT spin-off, and ten other industrial partners from Germany, Finland, Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Italy on ways to make LOCs marketable. Their ML project is funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), which is providing a total of 7.69 million euros in funding through fall 2016. "One of the main reasons LOCs don't make it to market is that the technologies used to fabricate them are often not transferrable to industrial-scale production," says Christoph Baum, group manager at the IPT. What's more, it is far from easy to integrate electrical functions into pocket labs, and of the approaches taken to date, none has yet proved suitable for mass production.

Platform for series production

The ML project aims to completely revise the way pocket labs are made so th
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Contact: Christoph Baum
christoph.baum@ipt.fraunhofer.de
49-241-890-4400
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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