Microfluidic technologies for chemistry, materials science and biotechnology
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Departament de Ciència dels Materials i Química Física, Institut de Química Teòrica y Computacional (IQTC), Barcelona, Spain
Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain
Publication date: 2021-09-27
Public Health Toxicol 2021;1(Supplement 1):A52

Self-assembly has long being used to control covalent and non-covalent interactions where molecular design has been the major driving force to achieve a desired outcome. Like in nature, a full control over self-assembly processes could lead to rationalized structure-property correlations, a long-time sought in chemistry, materials science and biotechnology. However, the pathways followed and the mechanisms underlying the formation of supramolecular aggregates are still largely unknown and unresolved. Additionally, the effective integration of supramolecular matter into small-scale robots for controlled drug delivery applications is yet in its infancy. Accordingly, it is highly required to find new technologies that can allow to overcome all these challenges.
In this contribution, I will present how microfluidic devices can be used to uncover pathway complexity as well as to asses drug delivery applications with small-scale robots. Specifically, I will show that microfluidic technologies provide an unprecedented kinetic control over self-assembly processes; for example, enabling the isolation of well-defined kinetically trapped states as well as unprecedented metastable intermediates. Moreover, I will show that microfluidic conditions can also be used as a phantom environment to test drug delivery applications of rationally designed small-scale swimmers.
The author acknowledges support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 952152, project ANGIE (MAgnetically steerable wireless Nanodevices for the tarGeted delivery of therapeutIc agents in any vascular rEgion of the body).