Microfluidics, a field that has been well-established for several decades, has seen extensive applications in the areas of biology, chemistry, and medicine. However, it might be very hard to imagine how such soft microfluidic devices would be used in other areas, such as electronics, in which stiff, solid metals, insulators, and semiconductors have previously dominated. Very recently, things have radically changed. Taking advantage of native properties of microfluidics, advances in microfluidics-based electronics have shown great potential in numerous new appealing applications, e. g. bio-inspired devices, body-worn healthcare and medical sensing systems, and ergonomic units, in which conventional rigid, bulky electronics are facing insurmountable obstacles to fulfil the demand on comfortable user experience. Not only would the birth of microfluidic electronics contribute to both the microfluidics and electronics fields, but it may also shape the future of our daily life. Nevertheless, microfluidic electronics are still at a very early stage, and significant efforts in research and development are needed to advance this emerging field. The intention of this article is to review recent research outcomes in the field of microfluidic electronics, and address current technical challenges and issues. The outlook of future development in microfluidic electronic devices and systems, as well as new fabrication techniques, is also discussed. Moreover, the authors would like to inspire both the microfluidics and electronics communities to further exploit this newly-established field.
2012. Vol. 12, no 16, 2782-2791 p.