Opening of laboratory for visualization of ultrafast micro- and nanoflows

(Nanowerk News) Micro- and nanodroplets flowing inside barely visible channels may serve as miniature chemical reactors. The research in this modern area of contemporary chemistry can be pursued more effectively with a new laboratory that has just opened at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.
On 6th March, 2012, the Ultrafast Microfluidic Devices Laboratory has opened at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw. The opening ceremony was attended by the representatives of over a dozen of Poland's largest scientific institutions – members of the NanoBioGeo consortium.
Microfluidic systems transport carrier fluids with microdroplets containing chemicals through appropriately designed, easy to construct and cheap to fabricate channel systems. A comprehensive understanding of phenomena occurring in microflows as well as the development of technologies for manufacturing, transporting, merging and partitioning microdroplets of various chemicals is of crucial importance for the development of the field.
"Our laboratory provides a platform for research into phenomena in microfluidic systems. The main objective is to observe and record optically ultrafast transport processes at the microscale and nanoscale, such as flows or diffusion", says Prof. Piotr Garstecki. The state-of-the-art Laboratory's equipment allows for employing many microscopic techniques, including fluorescence and bright field microscopies. The equipment allows us also to conduct studies in the area of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.
Microfluidics is a promising and expanding area of research. Many scientists agree that microfluidic systems will change the face of contemporary chemistry to a comparable extent as the integrated circuits have changed electronics in 1970s.
The newly opened laboratory is operated within the Department of Physical Chemistry of Soft Condensed Matter and Fluids of the IPC PAS. It is another one launched from among fourteen laboratories arising under the project National Multidisciplinary Laboratory of Functional Materials – NanoFun. The project is implemented by the NanoBioGeo consortium under the Innovative Economy Operational Programme 2007-2013.
The equipment of the Ultrafast Microfluidic Devices Laboratory can be accessed by the institutional members of the NanoFun consortium and by external users, both domestic and international.
The NanoFun's main objective is to establish a network of over a dozen laboratories pursuing innovative inter- and multidisciplinary research with potential applications in nanomaterials, biochemistry, biophysics and chemical engineering.
The research infrastructure emerging in Poland under the NanoFun project will be used by more than 100 research institutions and companies, and about one thousand of students. It is expected that the infrastructure will allow to complete about 150 international research and R&D projects, with participation of a few hundreds of researchers from various international organisations including Harvard University, University of California, Johns Hopkins University, University of Toronto, McGill University, London University, Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia, Max Planck Institute, Ecole Politechnique and Queensland University of Technology.
This press release was prepared thanks to the NanoFun project, cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund under the Innovative Economy Operational Programme POIG.02.02.00-00-025/09, and the NOBLESSE grant under the activity "Research potential" of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.
Source: Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences