(209f) From Fuzzy Wires to Microsystems
Microsystems promise to transform classical batch wise laboratory procedures into integrated systems capable of providing new understanding of fundamental chemical processes as well as rapid, continuous discovery and development of new products with less use of resources and waste generation. Chemical microsystems combine microfluidic channels, chemical-synthesis-on-a chip, and microscale separation based on surface tension effects to enable multiple synthesis and separation steps. Synthesis applications are enhanced by chemical information gained from integrating microfluidic components with sensors, actuators, and automated fluid handling. Moreover, miniaturized systems allow experiments on well defined samples at conditions not easily accessed by conventional means, such as reaction at high pressure and temperatures. Cases studies are drawn from multistep chemical synthesis relevant to fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, synthesis of colloidal nanoparticles and quantum dots, and fuel conversion. Emphasis is placed on applications that are enabled by microsystems and difficult to perform by conventional techniques.