Engineering flows in small devices: Microfluidics toward a lab-on-a-chip

Howard A. Stone, A. D. Stroock, A. Ajdari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3105 Scopus citations


Microfluidic devices for manipulating fluids are widespread and finding uses in many scientific and industrial contexts. Their design often requires unusual geometries and the interplay of multiple physical effects such as pressure gradients, electrokinetics, and capillarity. These circumstances lead to interesting variants of well-studied fluid dynamical problems and some new fluid responses. We provide an overview of flows in microdevices with focus on electrokinetics, mixing and dispersion, and multiphase flows. We highlight topics important for the description of the fluid dynamics: driving forces, geometry, and the chemical characteristics of surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-411
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual Review of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • Electro-osmosis
  • Low-Reynolds-number hydrodynamics
  • Microdevices
  • Mixing
  • Nanofluidics


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