Toward a modular, integrated, miniaturized, and portable microfluidic flow control architecture for organs-on-chips applications

Biomicrofluidics. 2022 Apr 18;16(2):021302. doi: 10.1063/5.0074156. eCollection 2022 Mar.


Microfluidic organs-on-chips (OoCs) technology has emerged as the trend for in vitro functional modeling of organs in recent years. Simplifying the complexities of the human organs under controlled perfusion of required fluids paves the way for accurate prediction of human organ functionalities and their response to interventions like exposure to drugs. However, in the state-of-the-art OoC, the existing methods to control fluids use external bulky peripheral components and systems much larger than the chips used in experiments. A new generation of compact microfluidic flow control systems is needed to overcome this challenge. This study first presents a structured classification of OoC devices according to their types and microfluidic complexities. Next, we suggest three fundamental fluid flow control mechanisms and define component configurations for different levels of OoC complexity for each respective mechanism. Finally, we propose an architecture integrating modular microfluidic flow control components and OoC devices on a single platform. We emphasize the need for miniaturization of flow control components to achieve portability, minimize sample usage, minimize dead volume, improve the flowing time of fluids to the OoC cell chamber, and enable long-duration experiments.