The University of Southampton

ELEC6204 Microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip

Module Overview

This module teaches the basics of the behaviour of fluids in microsystems, specifically focussing on the interaction of fundamental physical mechanisms and the design of microfluidic devices. It also reviews and analyses the state of the art in applied microfluidics such as Laboratory-on-a-Chip technology

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide an overview of microfluidics

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The theory and physical principles of fluid mechanics on the microscale
  • Operating principles and physical mechanisms unique to microfluidics
  • Fabrication methods used in the production of lab-on-a-chip systems
  • The use of Lab-on-a-Chip systems for different analytical purposes
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Mathematically model microfluidic devices and systems
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Propose design strategies for microfluidics systems based on fluid mechanical principles
  • Demonstrate an understanding of scaling of electrical, thermal, and fundamental dynamics in microsystems and the effects on system design


- Principles of miniaturisation, scaling laws - Theory of Microfluidics and nanofluidics - The diffusion of molecules and microscale mixing - Technological production of components: mixers and pumps - Fundamentals of electrical/electrochemical effects in microfluidics - DC fields in microsystems: electro-osmosis and electrophoresis - AC fields in microsystems: spectroscopy and dielectrophoresis - Soft lithography, novel methods and fabrication of Lab-on-a-Chip devices. - Detection methods – electrical, optical, thermal - Bio-analytical applications - Magnetic particle biotechnology - Surfaces, forces, electrowetting: Digital Microfluidics - Diagnostic systems – medical systems - Separation, purification, concentration technologies - Simulation and design of mixing devices for chemical reactors

Learning and Teaching

Follow-up work11
Wider reading or practice65
Completion of assessment task25
Preparation for scheduled sessions11
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Oosterbroek and van den Berg (2003). Lab-on-a-chip : miniaturized systems for (bio)chemical analysis and synthesis. 

Nguyen and Wereley (2002|2006). Fundamentals and applications of microfluidics. 

On-line resources.

Tabeling (2005). Introduction to Microfluidics. 

Gescheke et al, (2004). Microsystems Engineering of Lab-on-a-Chip Devices. 

Comprehensive online notes. 

Marc J. Madou (2002). Fundamentals of Microfabrication, The Science of Miniaturization. 

On-line resources.



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 70%
Report 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework marks carried forward 30%
Exam  (2 hours) 70%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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