Membranes and microfluidics: a review
The integration of mass transport control by means of membrane functionality into microfluidic devices has shown substantial growth over the last 10 years. Many different examples of mass transport control have been reported, demonstrating the versatile use of membranes. This review provides an overview of the developments in this area of research. Furthermore, it aims to bridge the fields of microfabrication and membrane science from a membrane point-of-view. First the basic terminology of membrane science will be discussed. Then the integration of membrane characteristics on-chip will be categorized based on the used fabrication method. Subsequently, applications in various fields will be reviewed. Considerations for the use of membranes will be discussed and a checklist with selection criteria will be provided that can serve as a starting point for those researchers interested in applying membrane-technology on-chip. Finally, opportunities for microfluidics based on proven membrane technology will be outlined. A special focus in this review is made on the membrane properties of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), since this material is frequently used nowadays in master replication.