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Resource management in microfluidic measurements

Isolated microfluidic chip is a set of micro-channels etched or molded into a glass material 3d rendered

Novel organ-on-a-chip technologies are able to decrease costs by performing assays in miniaturised format

The metrology community celebrates World Metrology Day on 20 of May, and this year marks the 149th anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. World Metrology Day is officially recognised by UNESCO, and this year the theme is sustainability. Sustainability affects many different areas of metrology, from energy efficiency, ‘greener’ transport options to resource and waste management.

The EURAMET Technical Committee for Flow (TC-Flow) has primary interests in the measurements of fluid quantity and their properties, as well as any related measurements derived from fluid quantity. This includes the measurements of quantities of high-pressure gas, definition of static volume and measurements of wind and water velocity. Additionally, it also concerns fluid measurements on the micro and nano scale, as are used by microfluidic devices such as organ-on-a-chip (OOC) technologies.

OOC technologies are able to mimic the in vivo environment of living organs and are therefore powerful in vitro models for human organs in biomedical research. Experiments are performed in a miniaturised format, therefore greatly supporting resource management. Often reagents used in biomedical research are precious due to the difficulties associated with obtaining clinical samples and the high cost of materials. Microfluidic devices have been able to decrease the cost per assay by reducing the volume of reagents needed, thus also making these technologies more accessible to research laboratories across Europe. Sustainability affects all areas of metrology, and this is a great example that highlights the positive impact resource management has on biomedical research.

For more information on World Metrology Day please visit the official website and the dedicated EURAMET webpage.

Elsa Batista (IPQ), convenor of the ‘Volume’ subcommittee for TC-Flow comments on the importance of sustainable practices in measurements of fluid quantities:

‘One of the goals of OOC technology is to minimise waste and resources and this fits perfectly with the with the theme of sustainability of our planet. Micro and nano measurements of flow and volume allow a decrease of the use materials and time in both clinical trials and drug discovery, without compromising accuracy and precision of the tests performed. Our EURAMET TCF community is therefore engaged in cooperation of the actors of this field in order to provide harmonisation, traceability and validation on microphysiological systems.’

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