Many chemical and biomedical experiments are conducted in labs that need a lot of space, expensive machinery, and special substances. What if this process could fit onto a tiny chip? Wouldn’t that save a lot of time, space and money!
So-called ‘labs-on-a-chip’ (also called biochips) already exist but their design is tedious. Researchers still have to manually calculate a lot of the variables, which leads to the creation of lots of different possible chips, some of which won’t prove useful. This ‘trial-and-error’ approach takes a lot of time and money. What if we could create a virtual biochip before we physically make one – so that we know we are always manufacturing the right one? Here we developed a computer simulation for a lab-on-a-chip and compared its predictions to existing biochips. We found out that our approach is great at its predictions, and chip designers could use it to create reliably useful biochips for lots of different experiments.