Air-microfluidic devices that monitor particles suspended in air, as opposed to liquids, can dramatically reduce the size and cost of future air-quality sensors. The use of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies and wafer-scale integration permits the inclusion of many different sensors onto a small footprint. Benefits of air-microfluidics are many. For example, air-microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices can be used as portable sensors for tracking individual exposure to airborne pollutants. Such sensors will enable linking exposure and biometric information to individual health effects, providing invaluable data related to air pollution epidemiology. Large numbers of distributed air-microfluidic sensors connected through a cellular network can form a highly-granular massively distributed sensing network that can provide dynamic information about air-quality, allowing users to take action to reduce the impact of pollution exposure.
However, despite these benefits, the development of air-microfluidic systems is challenging, as it requires gaining new understanding of the transport and behavior of airborne particles in microscale channels and at very low flow-rates. This talk will highlight the challenges and opportunities of the new emerging field of air-microfluidics by describing the ongoing research efforts of the Air-Microfluidics Group (AMFG). AMFG is a research consortium that includes the University of Illinois, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The AMFG mission is to use microfabrication technologies to develop low cost portable air-quality sensors, a research direction that was initially conceived at LBNL over a decade ago.
A recording of this seminar is available at: https://vimeo.com/79306151