Technology Review- The goal is to create devices, such as a lab-on-a-chip, that can carry out self-contained chemical and biological tests on tiny samples. To that end, researchers have developed various new ways to move liquid around using exotic pumps relying on things like electric fields. So-called microfluidic devices are having a big impact in areas from pathogen identification to environmental monitoring.
The ability to actuate at a distance using light alone could have many applications because it eliminates the need for the complex circuitry and pumps now used to transport droplets. It could also allow optical addressing of autonomous, wireless sensors.
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