Microfluidics is a technology that deals with the study of flow of liquids through microscopic channels. It is characterized by control and manipulation of fluids at sub-millimeter scale. It involves design, manufacture and formulation of devices and processes dealing with extremely low volume of fluids.Microfluidics field provides improved control on laboratory handling, analytical techniques and processing. Microfluidics is also referred as lab-on-chip or micrototal analysis assisting in biological and chemical analysis. Currently, microfluidic devices are known to have a wide range of applications apart from pharmaceuticals and life sciences namely, printing, pneumatics, chemical process engineering and power systems. Thus the advantages of adopting microfluidic technologies depend on the various applications for which they are used. For instance, the significance of microfluidic devices in point-of-care applications depends on the low-cost disposables, associated small volume of necessary reagents and sample, and high sensitivity. On the contrary, the advantages for pharmaceutical research applications are to allow process automation and multiplexed assays.
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Advancements in proteomics and genomics field are expected to boost the growth of the global microfluidics market.Other factors driving the growth of this market include acceleration in the fields of drug delivery, biosensing, drug screening, single cell or molecule analysis and point-of-care diagnostics. The miniaturization of bioanalytical techniques offers considerable advantages such as reduction of the equipment size and parallel operation for multiple analysis, also making the equipment less expensive. Moreover, microfluidics helps in converting entire bench top laboratory protocols into a single chip. Biotechnological advancement and growing maturity of the technology is further expected to drive the growth of the global microfluidics market. Microfluidics technology itself acts as an exclusive market driverdue to no availability of conventional substitute.Microfluidic devices significantly reduce the sample volume and carry out the reaction, detection and separation quickly. Microfluidic devices have been implemented in variety of biological applications that includes DNA sequencing, PCR amplification, immunoassays, amino acid and protein analysis, and other areas.
The global microfluidics market can be segmented based on material type, end use application and geography. Material type segment has been further sub divided into various materials such as polymer, glass, silicone and others. End use applications include pharmaceuticals (accurate dispensing devices microfluidic chips for lab analytics, micro-reactors), in vitro diagnostics (point of care testing and clinical diagnostics), and drug delivery devices (inhaler nozzles, micro-pumps, micro-needles). Development of micro-needle arrays due to advancements in microfluidics has greatly expanded the use of number of drugs in transdermal drug delivery. Transdermal delivery of macromolecules, favoring the growth of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) market, pain free drug delivery, low risk of infection and controlled drug release are various factors known to increase the demand for the micro-needles and hence propel the growth of the global microfluidics market.
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The chemical and life sciences sectors are engaged in developing a wide range of analytical and diagnostic applications which demands that microfluidics be incorporated. It has become one of the most dynamic fields in micro and nanotechnology. Moreover, microfluidics is adding functionality to many of the micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) devices. The technology facilitates chemical and biological reactions and analysis using typically sample volumes in nanoliters. The major players contributing to the microfluidic devices marketand witnessing a significant competition are Abbott Laboratories, Inc., Agilent Technologies, Inc., Biofluidix GmbH, Cepheid, Inc., Fluidigm Corp., Dolomite Center Ltd., Perkinelmer, Inc., RainDance Technologies, Inc., Roche Diagnostics Limited, Siemens Healthcare and other significant manufacturers.