Metallic glass tooling can be manufactured with features scaling from the macroscopic to the nano-scale. The excellent mechanical properties of the material make it ideally suited to applications involving high volume production of polymers parts requiring precision nanofeatures.
One such industry is the rapidly growing field of microfluidics and lab-on-chip devices. This technology seeks to miniaturise complex chemical reactions onto a single chip made from glass, silicon or plastic. The reactions are controlled by manipulating the flow of reagents through micro and nano-sized channels. This transition from tube to chip mirrors the development of the integrated circuit in computing and is likely to have a similarly wide ranging impact on society in the 21st century.

The Lab-on-Chip revolution
Lab-on-chip technology has the capacity to revolutionise the biomedical industry as it offers a number of advantages

  • Faster: It reduces costs by minimising equipment, samples and reagents
  • Cheaper: Reduces reaction times from days to minutes
  • More powerful: Enables precise control of complex chemistry at the molecular level

Microfluidic technology is at the heart of advances in Genomics, Proteomics, Cell analysis and Clinical diagnostics. These applications previously relied on expensive manufacturing techniques such as lithography and chemical and plasma etching. The drive towards disposable diagnostic applications favours the use of plastic chips manufactured with low cost injection moulding techniques. The current state of the art moulds manufactured using electroforming techniques are expensive and fragile. Metallic glass moulds will enable robust low cost moulds that will drive the lab-on-chip revolution to the next generation.