It began with the inkjet printers in the 1950s but is now rapidly developing in the medical technology industry. It's about the art of controlling and influencing extremely narrow fluid flow, also known as microfluidics, which will lead to more detailed information about our health. An international conference on the subject in Lund will be held on 5-6 September. When fluids flow in micrometers, they begin to behave differently, which researchers can take advantage of.
In Lund several researchers are involved in the subject. One of them is Jonas Tegenfeldt, Professor of Solid State Physics at LTH, who will host the conference "European Workshop on Label Free Particle Sorting" next week, within the framework of a major EU project.
"We will be about sixty representatives from universities, industry and government organisations in Europe, but also the United States, Africa and Asia," he says.
Also members from Jonas Tegenfeldt's group will present their research that has been funded by the EU and recently also by the Swedish Research Council. Above all, the group is working on developing cancer screening tools by sorting out cancer cells based on their softness (cancer cells differ in hardness) as well as investigating how bacterial shape affects their ability to infect.
Then it's about fluids moving in plants and, in turn, how fluids move in organs in humans and in different kinds of animals.
"It is a common view that microfluidics as a research field received a boost forward in the late 1980s based on the technology developed to miniaturise electronics. We have simply benefited from the investments made to make better and faster computers.", he says. "Today, however, there is not much that is common between the fields, even though we use many tools that are also used in the electronics industry.”