lab-on-a-chip abbr., LOC; µTAS otherwise micro total analysis systems (rus. лаборатория на чипе otherwise микросистемы полного анализа) — a miniature device that allows performing one or more multi-step (bio-) chemical processes on a single chip of only millimeters to a few square centimeters in size with the use of micro- or nanoscopic amounts of sample.


Labs-on-a-chip (LOCs) are created using methods of photolithography, micro-and nanofluidics *), precision engineering, nanosensors, etc. applied in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). LOCs differ from conventional bio-microarrays in that on microarrays only one reaction (e.g. nucleic acid hybridisation) is carried out whereas LOCs are able to carry out sequential chemical transformations of the initial sample, including such stages as: separation, concentration, mixing of intermediate products, their moving into different reaction micro-chambers and reading of final results. The main advantages of LOCs are simplicity of use, high speed of analysis, small amounts of samples and reagents, as well as high reproducibility of results achieved through the application of standard techniques and automated equipment in their production and use. In the future, LOCs will be able to carry out the studies for which specialised laboratories and expensive equipment are needed today, such as diagnostics of cancer and infectious diseases at the patient’s bedside or rapid analysis of environmental pollution in the field. There is also the prospect of using LOCs as microreactors in synthetic chemistry.

*) Micro/nanofluidics is a branch of hydrodynamics studying the behaviour of small (in the order of micro- and nano-litres) liquid volumes and flows.


  • Shirinsky Vladimir P.