This chapter discusses a lab-on-a-chip, which is used to describe chemical analysis devices that operate on a nanoscale. A chip can perform sensitive, selective chemical analysis in one small package, rather than on multiple pieces of equipment spread across a laboratory bench. In essence, they are shrinking bench-scale biochemical and cell-based assays down to a nano size. Since the chips are working with such small volumes of fluids—a matter of picoliters, in many cases—they are able to provide complex analyses quicker and more economically than is possible using standard lab technology. The lab-on-a-chip testing also generates higher quality data, because there is less human intervention, and the testing is done in a sealed environment that’s less subject to contamination. Lab-on-a- chip technology is being touted for everything from the detection of airborne bioterrorism agents to DNA testing to drug discovery. Much of the technology is still in development, but some commercial applications are already on the market.

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