Applications of Ionic Liquid Materials in Microfluidic Devices
“Lab-on-a-chip” (LOC) and microfluidics enable the manipulation of fluids at small length scales (from micrometers to millimeters). These systems often have well-defined fabrication processes and are capable of integrating multiple functional elements, to provide complete sample-in/answer-out systems. Nevertheless, the development of fully integrated microfluidic devices still faces some considerable obstacles, including fluidic control, miniaturisation and high costs. Due to their unique properties, ionic liquids have arisen as smart solutions to circumvent some of the hurdles facing current LOC technologies. They can directly benefit microfluidic devices by aiding miniaturised fabrication and passive microfluidic elements for fluid control, sensing and sample storage. Improved chemical reactions and separation, in addition to power generation, temperature control, and electrowetting show potential for reducing manufacturing costs and widening market possibilities. In this chapter we will review and discuss the fundamental applications of ionic liquids within microfluidic systems.