Research Direction

The Microdevices Lab at Whitworth University is currently focused on researching new ways to fabricate, integrate and apply devices with functional elements at the microscale (10-6 to 5✕10-4 meters = 1 to 500 μm or on the scale of a human hair thickness ~100 μm). With the advent of the semiconductor industry, a race to features less than 10nm (or ~100 atoms) in integrated electronic circuits resulted which gave us faster, better and cheaper electronic devices like computers, tablets and smartphones. This race, however, sped past the microscale and into the nanoscale circumventing many potential applications in the microscale. Therefore, we are exploring new applications and novel technology to take advantage of microdevices.

Microfluidic Devices

Y-mixer microfluidic microdevice

Microfluidic devices, or devices with fluid channels on the micron-scale (1 to 500 μm), are examples of microdevices that can involve mixers (such as the above y-mixer with ~100μm channel width), pumps and valves. This is one main component in so-called lab-on-a-chip devices that take functions, for example, normally performed in a chemistry lab and combines them on a compact chip.