How we're working towards the dream of a "smart" laboratory.
Gurpur Rakesh D. Prabhu, Pawel L. Urban |
The technology geek at the heart of an analytical scientist is naturally driven to automate repetitive tasks performed in laboratories (1). As early as the 1950s, Leonard Skeggs introduced one of the first automated analytical techniques, continuous flow analysis (CFA) (2). In this technique, chemical reagents are introduced to the sample plugs, which move along a tube, separated with air bubbles. Chemical reactions occur as the train of plugs advances from the tubing inlet toward a detector. With this advance, variability of the analytical results became independent of sample processing by human analysts. Later, to address the limitations of CFA, flow-injection analysis was introduced (3), eventually leading to the development of microfluidic systems (lab-on-a-chip) (4).
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